Post Menu and Details.
- What is End-to-End Encryption?
- How does End-to-End Encryption Work?
- Does Your Business Need End-to-End Encryption?
- Limitations of End-to-End Encryption
Reading time: ~4 minutes
Data security has become one of the most crucial aspects of managing a modern business. Irrespective of whether you’re running an online business or a brick and mortar store, your organization likely generates and process a plethora of data every day.
From business intelligence insights to confidential customer information – your organization has to deal with a wide variety of sensitive data. What happens if a third-party intercepts any of this data and misuses it?
Service providers, government bodies, market research companies, cybercriminals – this is just a glimpse of the third-party agencies that can access your business data. Needless to say, a data security breach will jeopardize your brand reputation, credibility, and revenue.
In fact, 60% of small businesses that fall prey to a cyber-attack go out of business within the next six months. This is particularly alarming, considering that nearly 43% of cyberattacks in the U.S. are targeted at small businesses.
So, what’s the best way to prevent data theft and security breaches? While there are various techniques to protect business data, end-to-end encryption is fast-emerging as the most effective solution.
In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into the concept of end-to-end encryption. We’ll also analyze its pros and cons to determine whether it’s the right fit for your business.
What is End-to-End Encryption?
If you’ve ever used apps, such as WhatsApp and Zoom, you must’ve come across a notification that says something like:
“Your messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption.”
Put, end-to-end encryption or E2EE is the encoding data technique so that only the sender and recipient can access it. It establishes a secure communication line that prevents any third-party from accessing the data while it’s being transmitted from one device to another.
How does End-to-End Encryption Work?
In an end-to-end encryption framework, the sender encodes the data using an encryption key. When the data reaches the recipient, they can decode it using the same encryption key or a combination of a public and private key.
Thus, in end-to-end encryption, only the sender and recipient can intercept the data. It blocks access for any third-party, such as a hacker or service provider, while the data is transferred between two devices or across the internet.
Broadly, end-to-end encryption can be categorized as:
In symmetric end-to-end encryption, both the sender and the recipient use the same encryption key to encode and decode the data. It’s faster, hassle-free, and the most commonly used form of E2EE.
On the other hand, in asymmetric end-to-end encryption, the recipient uses a public and a private key to decode the transmitted information. While this complicates the overall process, it also provides increased security.
Now that you know what E2EE is, you must be wondering whether your business needs to implement it. Let’s find out.
Does Your Business Need End-to-End Encryption?
The short answer to this question is “yes.” Irrespective of whether you’re running a small enterprise or a large corporation, you need to use end-to-end encryption to secure your data (if you aren’t doing it already, that is).
Here are some of the key benefits of end-to-end encryption for businesses:
It protects Your Customers’ Information
Depending on the nature and niche of your business, you might have to use and store a wide range of data about your customers, including their:
- Bank account details
- Credit card number
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Contact information
Needless to say, if a hacker gets their hands on this data, they can misuse it in various ways. It’ll also adversely affect your customers’ trust and loyalty and ultimately take a toll on your sales.
The good news is that you can avoid such security breaches using end-to-end encryption. Let’s say a customer uses their credit card to pay for a few products at your store. With E2EE, their credit card information is immediately encrypted at the point of sale and only decoded once it reaches the processor.
It facilitates Secure Business Communication
Seamless communication between various departments is the key to a thriving business. This, however, means plenty of confidential business information is being relayed through your communication networks.
You wouldn’t want a hacker to intercept this information, would you? What if a dishonest employee gets access to this data and shares it with your competitors?
That’s why you should use E2EE to ensure that each department only gets access to the right amount of data. Also, it ensures that none of the internal communication is available to any external agents.
It ensures Secure Cloud Storage
If you’re running a business in today’s world, you’re likely using cloud storage in some capacity. From sales reports and tax summaries to marketing collaterals and product prototypes – you can store just about anything on the cloud.
Despite its amazing benefits, cloud storage is often susceptible to cyberattacks and security breaches. The most effective way of protecting your business data on the cloud is to use an end-to-end cloud encryption service. It ensures that all your data remains encrypted even while it’s stored in the cloud.
Some cloud end-to-end encryption solutions take this a step further by providing zero-knowledge encryption. This means the encryption keys are stored away from the cloud servers to enhance security further.
Limitations of End-to-End Encryption
While E2EE is effective and reliable, it isn’t full-proof. This is because it does nothing to protect data at the endpoints, i.e., the sender’s and recipient’s devices. That’s why you need to use it with other encryption techniques, such as SSL and TSL, for complete immunity against cybercriminals.
Does your organization use an end-to-end encryption service? Share your experience in the comments section below.
Bonus video: End to End Encryption (E2EE) – Computerphile