Finding the right email encryption service provider to fit your specific business needs can be an overwhelming process and an overall tough decision. Dozens of terms and acronyms pop up from industry to industry when data compliance comes into question, such as HIPAA, FERPA, GDPR (if you live in Europe), FINRA, and many more. It can become even more confusing when you start to hear terms like “military-grade encryption” or “AES-256 encryption”. If you’ve spent any time working in the cybersecurity field these terms may sound familiar to you but for those who haven’t, it’s helpful to understand the meaning behind them so you can decide whether military-grade encryption is right for you or your business.
Cybersecurity experts have warned that “military-grade encryption” is just a tactic or marketing gimmick used to persuade people into purchasing software they don’t need, while others swear by it. Regardless, knowing what military-grade encryption does and how it works can help you further decide if it’s right for you. Keep in mind no organization or business is immune to cyber-attacks, if you’re dealing with sensitive information like ePHI or any other sensitive data it is recommended that you use an encryption service for data protection. Securing sensitive data at rest and in transit should be a top priority, especially if you work in the healthcare industry.
What Does Encryption Do?
An encryption algorithm or ciphering online data is the process of converting letters and numbers into disguised code that hides the true meaning of the data. Have you ever seen the Matrix? The binary code or green rain that you see depicts the simulated reality of the “Matrix” on screen with kinetic typography. A similar process is being used when encrypting online data such as email. When you use an encryption service to send an encrypted email or message it takes the information and scrambles it to look like gibberish, a person can decrypt an encrypted email but the only way to do so is if you were to use a device that can see in two dimensions. That typically involves an installed camera to read the code and an algorithm to decode it. Military-grade data encryption or AES-256 block cipher has never been cracked, yet… Using an unencrypted email service such as Microsoft Outlook or Gmail to send private data could spell disaster if it falls into the wrong hands unless you use an email service that specializes in email encryption.
So, What is Military-Grade Data Encryption
“Military-grade” refers to AES-256-bit encryption keys (Advanced Encryption Standard), this was established for federal compliance with the U.S. government and Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) which regulate the handling of private information. It is also the data encryption standard used by all service branches of the military to protect and secure sensitive data. The U.S. government has publicly stated that AES-128 encryption is used for unclassified information while AES-256 encryption is used for top-secret classified information.
Although these terms may not matter much to a person who isn’t an IT specialist, system administrator or involved with cybersecurity, it’s necessary for businesses and organizations who are dealing with sensitive information to know and understand. When it comes to online security, especially for those who work in healthcare or education applying anything less than AES-256-bit encryption could lead to major online breaches exposing private information to the wrong person. AES-256-bit encryption, while many have tried, still hasn’t been cracked or breached. If AES encryption is installed properly no practical online attack or breach would be able to crack it.
Do You Need Military-Grade Data Encryption?
In short, yes you should use military-grade data encryption to protect your sensitive online information, especially when using email. If you work in healthcare, education, law, insurance, or any other industry that accesses, processes, or sends information that is linked to a specific individual then using AES-256-bit encryption should be a no-brainer. The only way to truly protect private data online from hackers is to use an encryption service so all of your attachments, emails, banking information, social security numbers, private addresses, and credit card information is protected in both storage and transit from brute force hackers should you need to access, send, or transfer any of this information. VPN services can also help you stay protected from hackers and online breaches. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) extends a private network across a public one so users can share and receive private data across a shared or public network.