Data Encryption for Businesses – Your Guide to Keeping Data Safe
Data breaches and ransomware attacks are the worst nightmare of businesses operating online, and these threats are only becoming more and more prevalent as the digital age moves on. This is especially true for smaller businesses, with statistics from 2021  showing them to make up as much as 70% of cyberattack victims that year.
This number may seem damning at first, as may the fear of losing your sensitive data to attackers or having it held for ransom, but one of a business’s best friends in defending against the great unknown of the web is also the simplest to use – encryption.
Data encryption is crucial in any commercial data protection plan – ensuring that your information remains secure by scrambling files into a format that only you and your team can unlock and access. Despite the importance of encryption, however, as much as 83%  of small businesses operating online have absolutely no form of encryption protecting their critical data and infrastructure and are therefore vulnerable to a wide range of data loss threats.
Interested in moving your business from that 83% to the better-equipped 17%? Congratulations, your data will thank you! Read on for some simple tips to help you take your first steps toward being a safer, more secure organization.
1 – Find the right data encryption tool
The first step to encrypting as a business is deciding what parts of your network and digital presence you would like to protect – be it customer information, financial details, your entire network, or just a single disk. Once you have proceeded past this point, however, the next step is finding the perfect encryption tool to meet your data-protection needs.
Most computers and networks have the ability to use encryption at will through operating-system-run platforms like Microsoft BitLocker and Apple Filevault. If that doesn’t meet your business requirements, hyper-secure encryption platforms like VeraCrypt, TrueCrypt, and AxCrypt  are perfect for providing that extra measure of protection. This is thanks to their utilization of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) – an incredibly reliable encryption method used by the US military.
Not all available options require installing additional third-party software, however. Some encryption software can even be found bundled with other useful cybersecurity tools such as antivirus programs, making for a convenient and secure all-in-one barrier against online attacks. Another thing to note is the importance of sound, secure backups – both when it comes to the encrypted data and the key used to unencrypt and access it.
2 – Human error requires data encryption
It is true for every other form of data security, and it remains true when it comes to encrypting. Human error is responsible for up to 82%  of all data breaches, and with that said, it is clear just how important training and awareness is in a business’s efforts to reduce the risk of breaches and leaks.
Credentials, access to sensitive data, and administrative information relating to both your business and the encryption software used to protect it are all things vulnerable to exposure by unwitting employees and management. Informing your team about common cybersecurity concerns and having defenses in place against employee-targeted threats such as phishing will work greatly to lessen this risk.
3 – Support your encryption system
Backing up your encryption plan with a solid antivirus, antimalware, and ransomware defense suite will definitely increase its strength and its ability to withstand cyberattacks, but the surest way to keep your business safe is to work with a trained team well acquainted with the dangers of the online world.  Not only can a quality tech support team assist with setup, but they can also respond and assist with recovery in the event of a breach or other data emergency.
Protecting your crucial information doesn’t have to be painstaking, and with a little help from those in the know, the road to ultimate data safety quickly becomes a simple, comfortable, and secure one.
 IST – blueprint for Ransomware Defense – Institute for Security and … Available at: https://securityandtechnology.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/IST-Blueprint-for-Ransomware-Defense.pdf (Accessed: 25 October 2023).
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 A small business guide to computer encryption (no date) Business News Daily. Available at: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9391-computer-encryption-guide.html (Accessed: 25 October 2023).
 2023 data breach investigations report (no date) Verizon Business. Available at: https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/reports/dbir/ (Accessed: 25 October 2023).
 Outsourced IT services: 5 reasons to hire externally (2023) Eclipse Consulting. Available at: https://eclipse-online.com/news/outsourced-it-services-external-it-team/#:~:text=Because%20an%20external%20IT%20support,much%20more%20quickly%20than%20others. (Accessed: 25 October 2023).