Encryption, a form data security, converts data into a code that is only accessible to those who have the key. Cybercriminals are prevented from taking or harming data by rendering the data impossible to read. It also offers authentication and integrity, that confirms that the original data or messages are not altered or altered.

Most organizations rely on encryption to protect confidential data from access by unauthorized parties. Many sectors and governments have standards, regulations, and privacy measures that mandate or recommend the use of encryption that is strong. Those include healthcare data with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and credit card information as per the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and personal information such as addresses, names and social security numbers with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

While access control restricts who is able to see what data, encryption adds additional layers of security by making sure that data can be accessible to those possessing the right keys. This lowers the risk of data breaches, which can result in costly penalties, long lawsuits, reduced revenue, and tarnished reputaitons.

Encryption can be used to protect data during transit and at rest. In multi-tenant architectures where customer data is stored on the same hard drive as other customers, an encryption policy such as Microsoft’s Zero Standing Access will help ensure that data isn’t accessible by Microsoft employees or other customers. Encryption also complements access control by ensuring that sensitive information is not readable while in transit via the Internet or between systems within an organization.