The importance of data encryption in our everyday cloud

In a 2016 study on global encryption trends published by the Ponemon Insti­tute, encryption being used consistently across businesses grew from 16 percent to 41 percent since 2005.

Encryption converts any data into scrambled, unreadable text in order to mask the information from potential hackers.

WinMagic Data Security Solutions COO Mark Hickman says data en­cryptors require three key goals to suc­cessfully protect their information.

“The first is to make encryption man­ageable so you can manage files on your network, cloud, and different devices. Second is to enhance the user experience — encrypt the data without the user hav­ing to be aware of it. The last part is no compromised security: We can’t com­promise data security, even if it improves manageability or user experience,” said Hickman.

UW Tacoma information technol­ogy graduate Sameer Hakimi believes it’s important to encrypt. “Nowadays, you never know who has access to your in­formation. If you don’t keep your info private, anyone can know anything about you,” said Hakimi.

Corporate businesses demand a high volume of security, but a lack of protec­tion exists for the average consumer. On March 23, the U.S. Senate voted to de­crease regulation, which allowed internet providers like Comcast and AT&T to share consumers’ information with other companies. According to Hari Sreenivasan of PBS NewsHour, this in­cludes sharing “browsing data, history, financial, health, communication and location information without your ex­plicit permission.”

Youtuber Philip DeFranco, called the situation “the beginning to the end of privacy online.”

Despite his thoughts on the end of privacy, he has many options to curtail data extraction. DeFranco stressed the importance of data encryption by men­tioning different ways for everyday people to encrypt their information — such as the Tor browser and virtual pri­vate networks.

“Encryption is your best friend,” said DeFranco.

Tor is a free online browser that, ac­cording to the Tor website, “encrypts all of your incoming and outgoing browsing traffic and relays it through a number of volunteer nodes before sending it to its destination.” DeFranco says this prevents internet providers from viewing the web pages the browser selects.

Hakimi says he has used Tor in the past, but feels as though there are better ways to encrypt data.

“Tor is just a slower browser than Chrome,” said Hakimi.

A VPN is another way to stop service providers from knowing your informa­tion. A VPN encrypts your entire web traffic, stopping service providers from seeing your information.

ILLUSTRATION BY ALEXX ELDER

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