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Four Methods for Encrypting Sensitive Data in a Cloud Environment

Four Methods for Encrypting Sensitive Data in a Cloud Environment

The scale of organizations moving their business processes to a hybrid or cloud environment continues to grow year after year. Data storage, easy collaboration, on-premises integrations with frequented web and cloud applications, and more are just a few of the ways IT and security professionals have started using the cloud.

But are these organizations prepared to meet the growing security requirements that come with this transition to the cloud? While a cloud or hybrid environment offers many benefits, including less reliance on a physical location, easier access to business information, and improved connectivity to trading partners and third-party vendors, it can also create new risks that threaten the integrity of your data.

One way to protect yourself from vulnerabilities in the cloud is by encrypting sensitive data in transit and at rest. You can use these four methods to ensure your cloud file transfers are secure and compliant with today’s data security standards:

1. OpenPGP/GPG

OpenPGP is a popular encryption protocol that uses asymmetric cryptology (a public PGP key) to encrypt your files for transferring. For organizations that require public and private key use to achieve a higher level of data security, this might be the encryption method that works best for you.

Encrypting cloud file transfers is easy with OpenPGP. Depending on the secure file transfer solution you use, you can automate your encryption and decryption processes, manage PGP keys with a built-in Key Management System, simplify how you share keys with your trading partners, and run reports to determine when your OpenPGP keys will expire.

You can also verify the authenticity of received files with OpenPGP by having them signed with the sender’s digital signature. Upon delivery, the signature will be checked against the one in the sender’s public key. This feature ensures you can tell whether or not a file transfer can be trusted or not.

GPG, or GNU Privacy Guard, is a free implementation of OpenPGP. Like OpenPGP, it allows you to encrypt and decrypt data, sign and verify files, and use PGP keys. Where its difference from OpenPGP lies, however, is in its interface. GPG is a command line tool (not a GUI) that can be used from a command prompt, a shell script, or other email and system programs.

GPG was created following the OpenPGP standards established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). This ensures that GPG is interoperable with Symantec’s PGP tools and, therefore, can work with any OpenPGP file.

2. AES

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is a symmetric encryption cipher that’s used by the government to protect files in transit and at rest. If your organization needs to maintain compliance with NIST or CSE requirements, a secure file transfer solution that uses FIPS 140-2 compliant AES and Triple DES algorithms can help you ensure your files are encrypted to standard.

3. SSH

SSH, often referred to a Secure Shell, is a cryptographic network protocol that encrypts data before its sent using an SFTP or SCP file transfer protocol. SSH uses asymmetric and symmetric cryptology (SSH keys) to secure files, and authentication can be made for received files using a user ID/password, keys, or both.

Choosing SSH encryption for your cloud file transfers gives you multiple ways to implement authentication. You can choose from password authentication, key-based authentication, or two-factor authentication (like using a username, password, and SSH key) for high security.

4. TLS

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a cryptographic encryption protocol that encrypts an organization’s file transfers over AS2, FTPS, HTTPS, and other industry protocols. TLS allow TLS-enabled servers and clients to connect and authenticate with each other through the use of x.509 certificates. This is a good option over SSH and OpenPGP if you prefer to use a certificate (which contains a public key and identifiers like the subject name, issuer name, validity period, etc.) from a trusted authority.

Note: While some organizations still use SSL, it is no longer considered secure by many data security standards and industry requirements.

Whichever method of encryption you choose to secure the files you send and store in the cloud, you’ll rest easier knowing your data is safeguarded from external threats at all times, no matter where it resides.

Need to simplify your file encryption processes? A secure file transfer solution like GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer supports all four encryption methods for cloud data protection. You can learn more about GoAnywhere at their website.

Source: HelpSystems

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