What Is Encryption in the Cloud?
Encryption is a technique used to protect confidential data. The process of encryption encodes messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. In encryption, the original text is referred to as the “clear text” or “plain text” while the encrypted data is “cipher text”. The transformation from clear text to cipher text and back is governed by a mathematical algorithm, which typically involves a secret, commonly referred to as the “key”. The cryptographic key must be protected because anyone who possesses the key can decrypt the cipher text and reveal the encoded data.
Encryption, as a technology, dates back to 1900 BC in Egypt. The Roman empire populated its use when letters and messages from Julius Caesar were scrambled to prevent unauthorized access. Modern cryptography has become the foundation of secure communication on the Internet, including SSL and DNSSEC, as well as consumer privacy (see infographic 1). In the recent years, top consumer companies like Apple and Google have made cryptography an easy-to-access consumer-facing technology, embedded in everyday applications and devices.
A Brief History of Ciphers
Cryptographic technologies are fundamental to Internet security and consumer privacy. The recent debate on government encryption backdoor access has made cryptography the epicenter of the debate. Read more on the latest news here.
1. World’s leading cryptography experts call for the US government to resist encryption backdoors in an open paper
2. EU Article 29 Working Group’s opinion on Personal Data Breach Notification argues for encryption safe harbor from breach notification
3. Toshiba claims unbreakable quantum encryption, industry reacts
Articles on Cloud Encryption
Read the latest updates, insights, tips and emerging trends for encryption in the cloud
Take a Deeper Dive
- Searchable encryption: Searchable encryption allows a party to outsource the storage of its data to another party (a server) in a private manner, while maintaining the ability to selectively search over it. This concept strikes a balance between the need to protect data (i.e., confidentiality) and the need to support business operations (e.g, searching). CipherCloud’s Strong Searchable Encryption is an example of a searchable encryption algorithm.
- Format-preserving encryption: In cryptography, format-preserving encryption ensures that the ciphertext is in the same format as the input (the plaintext). This typically applies to structured data of a certain format or length, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and credit card numbers.
Encryption: Expert Series
Read what an industry research firm says about encryption — Ovum’s “Cyber Security and Encryption” report