What Is Data Encryption?

Data encryption is a method of encoding information so it is extremely difficult to access, except by a user who possesses the correct encryption key.

Written by Anthony Corbo
Published on Dec. 16, 2021
What Is Data Encryption?
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David Moose Wolpoff | Aug 10, 2022

Data encryption is a crucial component of cybersecurity and can be applied to data of all kinds, from text to multimedia.

What is data encryption and how does it work?

Data encryption utilizes algorithms to create an encryption scheme that scrambles the appearance of data to unauthorized users.

Encryption is a critical method of data protection that works to stop data from being read even if unauthorized parties intercept it. Encrypted data is also known as ciphertext, and the process of encryption creates the ciphertext along with the keys needed to decrypt it. Provided the encryption algorithm is strong in both its design and implementation, encrypted data cannot be decoded without the correct key or through the use of massive amounts of computing power.

What are the different standards of encryption?

The different standards of encryption include Data Encryption Standard, Triple DES, RSA, Advanced Encryption Standard, SSL, TLS and others.

The earliest standard is known as Data Encryption Standard (DES), which was established in 1977 by the U.S. government but is largely obsolete now due to advances in technology. Triple DES strengthens the DES standard by running DES encryption three times in order to protect sensitive data. RSA is a standard that features a widely-used encryption algorithm and expanded key length to securely transmit data. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is amongst the most secure encryption types and encrypts data in a single block through symmetric key encryption.

Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is a form of data encryption for information sent to and from a website designed to stop attackers from accessing data in transit. SSL should be used when storing and sending sensitive data, including any time a purchase is made or a social security number is entered, as well as when workplaces require encryption protocols. SSL has been succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS), particularly in email, instant messaging, voice over IP and in securing HTTPS communications. Data encryption standards will continue to grow as new technology develops and the security landscape changes.

What are the 2 types of encryption?

There are two encryption systems that can be used to protect and subsequently access data: symmetric and asymmetric encryption.

The two types of encryption systems are based on the ways in which encryption keys can encrypt and decrypt data. They are known as symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption.

  • Symmetric encryption uses a single secret key to both encode and decode data. Most commonly, symmetric keys are utilized when working with smaller data sets.
  • Asymmetric encryption, or public-key cryptography, involves the use of two linked keys, one of which is public and one of which is kept private. The public and private keys are each able to decrypt the other key's encryption.
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