GDPR recommends using encryption method to protect sensitive information.
Protect your business by encrypting any sensitive information.
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Data encryption is a critical part of GDPR compliance although there are no explicit GDPR encryption requirements. The regulation vaguely states that businesses must enforce safeguards and security measures to protect all consumer data that they handle. The GDPR refers to pseudonymization and encryption as “appropriate technical and organizational measures."
Encryption is a very powerful security technique that converts or encodes messages and information into unintelligible form. It does so in a way that allows only authorized parties to access it. Unauthorized parties cannot access encrypted data. Data is encrypted using software that utilizes one or more cryptographic keys. Each key is made up of a string of random characters, like letters and numbers. A key converts (encrypts) the original plaintext data into encrypted ciphertext format.
Ciphertext format is secure because it can only be read once decrypted. The encryption keys can be used to convert and decrypt cipher text back into human readable plaintext data. Since this encryption process renders a set of information unreadable and, therefore, unusable to anyone who does not have a valid cryptographic key, GDPR encryption techniques can prove very beneficial to your company if a data breach is ever to occur.
The GDPR has set a strict requirement that all organizations must notify people in the event of a data breach within just 72 hours. If you encrypt your data, however, you will not have to comply with this requirement since any "leaked data" will be totally unusable and unreadable to any unauthorized individuals who view it. The reason is simple: if the data is unintelligible outside of your organization, no information has truly been leaked.
In conclusion, data encryption can prove to be highly effective for keeping your organization in GDPR compliance in combination with other measures. Data encryption can help you avoid harmful data breaches alongside expensive noncompliance fines and penalties.
One of the targets of the cyber attacker are archives and backups because they contain the same valuable data as the production database, but they are usually much less protected. For this reason, the privacy protection regulation requires deletion of a person from all archives and backups. This is a very tedious and costly task to implement.
Risk: The cyber attacker steals files with the production database archives. The attacker then extracts all Sensitive Personal Information (SPI) from these archives and publishes the data on the internet or darknet. This has resulted in a so-called data breach and the company is liable under GDPR.
Protection: Applying encryption, anonymization, and pseudonymization to all archives and backups will prevent the attacker from extracting sensitive data from the stolen archive.
Breach example: In 2012, TD Bank misplaced computer backup tapes containing personally identifiable information for 267,000 customers. TD Bank later paid an $850,000 fine for this data breach.
Source: Bank Info Security