Imagine sending an important file to a client without a safeguard protecting the information in the file. The likelihood of an unauthorized user accessing that data is much higher without encryption.

To understand what encryption is, you must also understand what plaintext and ciphertext is. Plaintext is data that is readable.  Encrypted by encoding a version of text that is only readable with a decryption key. Once encrypted plaintext becomes ciphertext. Encryption safely transmits data across networks. Created with a mathematical procedure known as cryptography.

There are two types of algorithms that are used to encrypt data today: symmetric and asymmetric.


Plaintext and ciphertext use the same secret key to both encrypt and decrypt.  The key can be a series of letters, a word, or a number. It gained the name symmetric due to the use of the same key. There are two types of symmetric-key encryption: stream ciphers or block ciphers.

• Stream ciphers encrypt digits or letters of a message at once.

• Block ciphers are a number of bits that are encrypted as a single unit.

Common asymmetric-key algorithms include: Rivest-Shamir-Adelman (RSA), Elliptic, Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA).


Asymmetric encryption is also public key cryptography. Simply put, it uses two different keys to transfer data safely. One public key to encrypt plaintext, allowed to distribute without compromising data. The receiver has a private second key to decrypt the data.

Due to being complex, asymmetric encryption is for small amounts of data.  There are two types of asymmetric-key encryption: public key encryption and digital signatures:

• Public key encryption is where a message is encrypted with the recipient’s public key and cannot be decrypted without the matching private key.

• Digital signature is a message that is signed with the senders’ private key and is verified by whomever has access to the senders’ public key.

Common asymmetric-key algorithms include: Rivest-Shamir-Adelman (RSA), Elliptic, Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA).

Hybrid Encryption

Hybrid encryption is encryption that is two or more encryption methods used together. For instance, symmetric is fast and asymmetric is secure, hybrid is more secure and fast.

Data Security

IT systems today need modern encryption; therefore it is vital for data security.  Depending on what industry your business is in, part of compliance is to ensure you have an encryption protocol in place. Encrypting data provides three elements of security:

1.  Data Integrity: Proof that the message hasn’t been alter.

2.  Authentication: Origin of the message is verified.

3.  Nonrepudiation: Sender can’t deny sending the message.

For information on data encryption, contact us today.


Leave a Reply