The term “data at rest” refers to information that resides in computer storage. Conversely, “data in motion” means that information is traveling across a network, or it temporarily “lives” in a computer’s memory, in preparation for being read or updated.
From a digital security standpoint, these two concepts are critical. Both types of data are vulnerable to hackers and criminals seeking to exploit it for nefarious purposes. In the Cloud Era, protecting data in motion has taken precedence because everyone transmits information through the cloud.
Analysts have estimated that by 2017, two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud. However, securing data traversing the cloud should not come at the expense of keeping data at rest safe. In fact, safeguarding data at rest will become more challenging as larger and larger amounts of it are stored in the cloud in order to make it easier to process it.
So, how can your business protect valuable data at rest? There is one word: encryption.
Encryption is Crucial for Protecting Your Business’ Data
Encryption refers to the translation of information into a secret code, which is incredibly difficult to break. Why is encrypting data at rest so highly recommended? Once data is encrypted, only someone with the correct tool, known as a key, can decrypt it. If someone does not have the keys, he or she cannot access the information.
Furthermore, when an IT department sends a hard drive into retirement, its employees do not need to worry that data is at risk for theft because potential thieves cannot read it without keys. In addition, encryption nullifies the physical security risks to the cloud. For example, if someone steals the data drive from the data centre, the thief cannot access the information.
Is Your Business Legally Required to Encrypt?
Encryption is more than just a suggestion, though. It is legally required for many businesses across a number of industries to comply with domestic and international laws. For example, in the US, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (known as the GLBA) mandates that certain types of organizations and agencies protect the confidentiality of consumer non-public personal information. Encryption is the best method to do this.
On the international level, the Basel II Accord requires that financial institutions manage risk and threats, such as the threat of data loss and theft. The Basel II Accord has made encryption mandatory for financial reporting data.
The Price You Pay If You Don’t Encrypt
What happens to companies and organizations that do not comply with these regulations? Under the GLBA, violators will have to pay hefty fines. They also risk being imprisoned. If your business does not comply with the requirements of the Basel II Accord, you will face having to reserve higher levels of operating capital and receive less favourable pricing in financial markets.
Need Professional Encryption for Your Data at Rest?
Data at rest is just as vulnerable to theft as data in motion. Businesses cannot neglect one at the expense of the other. In fact, if they do, it could lead to severe legal repercussions. Encrypting data at rest is the best defense against theft and loss.
Not only does it give you greater peace of mind, it means that you are complying with domestic and international legal frameworks.
Have questions about securing your business? WinMagic’s award winning products fulfill the requirements of even the most security conscious, and we support over five million SecureDoc users in more than 80 countries. Contact us to request an evaluation copy, or let us guide you through an online demo to learn more about how we can help you keep your data at rest, or data in motion, secure.