Information Center

The Art of Secrecy: Understanding Encryption Techniques

In today’s digitally connected world, massive amounts of data are generated each day. And how you use this data is a crucial determinant of your long-term success as an organization. However, while data is a vital enabler, it can cripple your organization, or any entity, if unprotected.

While passwords are great, you must consider more robust measures to protect your data. In this regard, encrypting data is the ideal solution for most companies. To put this into perspective, there are seven million unencrypted files that are compromised every day. By encrypting your data you will make it harder for hackers to access it.

The art of encrypting data involves converting it into an unreadable format so that unauthorized users cannot decode it. Imagine it as a secret code only understood by you and the intended receiver. As such, it’s the foundation of modern cybersecurity and it ensures sensitive data is kept confidential.

Today, encrypting data is crucial for safeguarding sensitive information and people’s online identities. It is utilized in various ways, including email, instant messaging, online banking, and e-commerce to name just a few.

Keep reading if you want to learn more about encryption, its forms, and how to use it to enhance your data security and brand reputation.

What Is Data Encryption?

Data encryption is transforming plain text data into cipher text, an unreadable format that can only be deciphered with a unique decryption key. By doing so, you can shield sensitive data from unwanted access or interception during transmission.

Although there are many other data encoding methods, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), RSA encryption, Blowfish, and Twofish are a few of the most widely used. AES, in particular, is popular and widely regarded as one of the best encoding algorithms available.

Types of Encryption

As mentioned, there are different methods for encrypting data. But before you get into those, you must understand the two primary forms of encrypting data and files: symmetric and asymmetric.

You can use various encryption algorithms to protect your data depending on your needs and preferences. Here are the most common ones:

AES Encryption

The Advanced Encryption Standard is a symmetric ciphering method popular for data protection. It was first released in 2001 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Today, the U.S. government and many organizations across the world use it.  

A key factor behind its popularity is that it’s quick due to its symmetric key scheme, but also reliable. It divides data into 128-bit blocks and converts these blocks using keys of 128, 192, and 256 bits. Once it encrypts these blocks, it joins them together to form the ciphertext. This format cannot be deciphered without the key. 

One advantage of AES is how quickly and effectively it can encrypt vast volumes of data due to its use of a symmetric key.

You can use AES in several ways, including securing online transactions, securing the sensitive data in your computer hard drives, and encrypting data transmitted over networks. Some of the devices you can use AES on include mobile phones, laptops, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Fun fact: AES was developed during a global competition to replace its aging predecessor, Data Encryption Standard (DES). Two Belgian cryptographers, Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen, developed the winning algorithm, Rijndael, which was later standardized as AES.  

RSA Encryption

The RSA encryption algorithm was developed by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman and is duly named after them. It’s one of the most popular encoding algorithms today, frequently employed to protect data transfer over the internet.

Being an asymmetric mode of coding data, RSA uses two keys to function. The public key, available to anyone, is used to encrypt data. The private key is kept secret and used to decode the data. RSA is a very secure method of encrypting files as it’s mathematically very difficult to use the public key to calculate the private key. 

The three cryptographers developed RSA in 1977, and it immediately gained popularity for its superior security and adaptability. It is utilized for several purposes, including preserving digital signatures, encrypting communications, and safeguarding online transactions.

The production of digital signatures is one of the intriguing uses of RSA. Users can sign and validate the legitimacy of digital documents using digital signatures. The procedure entails signing the document with the sender's private key to produce a unique signature that can later be validated with the sender's public key.

RSA is widely utilized in many areas, including banking, healthcare, and government, and is vital to many security systems. Despite being widely used, the security of RSA is constantly changing, and researchers are looking into fresh attack and response strategies to stay ahead of emerging dangers.

File Encryption

File encryption is the process of safeguarding digital information by transforming it into ciphertext, an unintelligible format. This method prevents unauthorized access to sensitive data, such as personal documents, financial records, and company data.

File encoding comes in various forms, including disk, email, and cloud encoding. To protect data on hard drives or other storage devices, disk encryption is used. Cloud encryption is utilized to safeguard data stored in the cloud, and email encoding is used to secure emails and their attachments.

There are several popular file ciphering programs to choose from, including BitLocker, VeraCrypt, and GnuPG.

To safeguard sensitive data from potential cyberattacks, encrypting files is critical to data security. It enables you to ensure the security of data even if it ends up in the wrong hands. 

Benefits of Encryption  

Encoding data has become essential for protecting sensitive data from malicious intent in the digital ecosystem. It's no secret that the internet can be risky, and hackers constantly seek methods to access private information. 

Some of the benefits you'll enjoy from encoding data include:

Improved Data Security 

One of the most important advantages of ciphering data is increased data security. Encrypting your data makes accessing it more difficult for hackers or other unauthorized users. Thanks to encrypting capabilities, only persons with the proper authorization can view the data.

Organizations that handle sensitive consumer data, such as credit card information, social security numbers, and medical records, may find this particularly important. This is because it helps prevent data breaches and makes identity theft less likely.

Additionally, it guarantees that the stolen information is worthless to the criminal in the event of a data breach because they cannot decrypt it without the cipher. 

Safeguarding Personal Information 

Another advantage of encrypting files and communications is the protection of personal data. Personal data is kept in many places in the modern digital world, including online accounts, mobile devices, and cloud services.

Also, encoding can shield personal information when it is sent over the internet for purposes like online shopping or banking. In these circumstances, the data is encrypted before transmission, rendering it unintelligible to anybody who could intercept it.

Individuals may secure their privacy and avoid identity theft by encrypting their personal information.

Enhancing Communication Privacy 

Unless you're targeting a public audience, you want your messages to remain private. But, the information you disclose when you interact with someone online, whether through email, instant messaging, or other platforms, may be at risk.

This can be avoided by encrypting your messages so that only the intended receiver can read them. This is critically important for sensitive or secret information, such as financial or legal data.

An encrypting method that is particularly successful at increasing communication privacy is end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encoding prevents intermediaries from accessing unencrypted data since the data is encrypted on the sending device and can only be decoded by the receiving device.

End-to-end encryption is used by messaging applications like WhatsApp and Signal to protect the confidentiality of user messages. Both people and corporations may safeguard their sensitive information and avoid unlawful access by utilizing encrypting software to improve communication privacy.

Challenges of Encryption

While encrypting data may be a potent tool for protecting sensitive information, it has challenges. As such, for your brand to enjoy the full benefits of encrypting data, you must be aware of the potential challenges and determine how to navigate them.

Cost and Complexity

As with most advanced technologies, adopting encryption solutions is costly and complex. You’ll need to invest in specialized gear and software, which can be expensive to buy and maintain. Such an investment should also be accompanied by personnel with the expertise and experience to handle your needs. 

Furthermore, encoding solutions can make routine actions, like sending and receiving emails or transferring data, more challenging. This can make it harder for those unfamiliar with encoding to utilize it successfully, increasing the risk of security-compromising errors. 

Finally, encrypting may demand a lot of computing power, affecting how quickly systems and devices operate. These considerations collectively can make encoding more challenging to implement, but the advantages of increased security make it well worth the effort.

Technical Challenges

In addition to the cost and complexity, encrypting has some technical challenges. To begin with, making sure the code is robust enough to survive attacks from hackers or other bad actors is a significant problem. This necessitates using the appropriate encrypting technique, key size, and key management and storage procedures.

Another technical challenge is ensuring that encrypting tools do not impair the operation of the system or application it's being utilized in. To guarantee that the encoding doesn't result in unanticipated mistakes or negatively affect performance, thorough planning and testing is necessary.

Moreover, correctly decrypting data when it's needed is also a challenge. This necessitates employing methods for recovering lost or damaged keys and using prudent key management and storage techniques.

Overcoming these technological obstacles requires knowledge and resources, but it's essential to guarantee that encrypting solutions are deployed successfully and deliver the desired benefits.

Human Vulnerability

Even while encrypting tools are robust and safe, they’re also vulnerable to human errors. People play a crucial part in encrypting data and can make mistakes that jeopardize the security of encrypted data. For instance, phishing scams, insecure devices, and weak passwords can all expose data to errors by your team.

Another weakness is the potential for social engineering assaults, in which criminals manipulate targets' minds to coerce them into disclosing their cipher or granting access to their encrypted data. The best protection in these situations is knowledge and awareness, which may aid individuals in identifying and avoiding such techniques.

Although encrypting can offer a high level of protection for digital data, it is vital to remember that it is not impenetrable, and that weaknesses and human mistakes can still present a risk.

Veritas Technologies: Pioneering Data Protection and Management Solutions

Data is critical and organizations need to use data well and protect it. Veritas Technologies helps companies secure sensitive data from various dangers, including cyberattacks, natural catastrophes, and human error. 

When it comes to corporate data protection and management solutions, we're a market leader. Along with being in the field for over three decades, we understand how important it is for brands to maintain their customer’s faith to scale. 

Veritas NetBackup, our flagship product, is a complete data backup and recovery solution that gives businesses a centralized platform to handle backup and recovery tasks in various contexts. It is a reliable and effective data protection tool with sophisticated capabilities like deduplication, replication, and snapshot management.

In addition to NetBackup, Veritas provides a variety of other goods and services that assist companies in efficiently managing their data. These include Veritas InfoScale, a software-defined storage system that offers high availability and disaster recovery capabilities, and Veritas Backup Exec, a backup and recovery solution for small enterprises.

Our solutions make it easier for you to adhere to data privacy laws like GDPR, CPRA, and HIPAA.

The Power of Encryption Solutions 

In today's digital environment, encrypting data is integral for protecting sensitive information. It lets you stay ahead of the ever-evolving cyber threats to keep your client's data safe. As a result, you'll enjoy increased customer trust and loyalty, translating to increased sales and customer lifetime value (LTV).

As you look to adopt encoding solutions to protect your data, you'll need the right partner. Along with our cutting-edge encrypting solutions, Veritas offers unparalleled support to help your business understand and navigate cyber threats. 

So, get in touch with us today to ensure all your personal data protection needs are covered. We can help you develop and maintain a robust and compliant program that will keep your organization safe and secure.


Veritas customers include 95% of the Fortune 100, and NetBackup™ is the #1 choice for enterprises looking to protect large amounts of data.

Learn how Veritas keeps your data fully protected across virtual, physical, cloud and legacy workloads with Data Protection Services for Enterprise Businesses.


Frequently Asked Questions

Data encoding is the transformation of plain text data into cipher text, an unreadable format that can only be deciphered with a unique decryption key.

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a symmetric encoding technique frequently employed to protect private information.

Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) is an asymmetric encryption technique designed to protect digital signatures and data transport.

Encrypting data offers numerous benefits, including increased data security, personal information protection, and enhanced communication privacy.

While it has numerous benefits, several challenges come with adopting it. These include cost, complexity, technical limitations, and human errors that compromise the system. 

File encryption is the process of converting files and folders into code that’s unreadable by unauthorized users to secure them.

With digitization, a lot of data is generated and shared each day. Much of this data is personal, highly sensitive, and valuable, making it attractive to hackers. Therefore, organizations need to leverage encrypting tools to comply with data privacy regulations and maintain trust with their customers.