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Encryption inside a network

We all understand (or should understand) that encrypting sensitive information outside your network (e.g., SSL, IPSec, etc.) is something that must be done. What are your views on encrypting data WITHIN a network?

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Data encryption protects confidential information by turning human readable formats, or cleartext, into illegible data, or ciphertext. The only way to read encrypted data is by unscrambling or decrypting the code using an encryption key.

Unencrypted data is extremely damaging in the wrong hands. As data theft continues to increase, encrypting backup and other sensitive information is a must in today's world. Organizations are adopting encryption methods to safeguard even internal communications, for example: encrypting IM sessions and corporate intranet sites' hosting forums and knowledgebases, encrypting network volumes containing confidential or sensitive information. Software like Enterprise PGP suite and other encryption tools are widely used within organizations to protect sensitive corporate information and internal electronic communication.

Security auditors and IT departments must work together to understand the risks associated with unencrypted data and to help develop data security plans to safeguard sensitive corporate information.

This was first published in September 2005

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