The struggle of data security in this techno age is real. However, strong encryption is a key essential in this never-ending battle of data security. Data encryption is not as complicated as it sounds, and the tools for this are easy to use. However, the management of the ever-changing encryption keys brings about a new breed of challenges within the span of their life cycle.
Due to the fact that each encrypted item has its own personal key, the management and protection of a thousand such keys become a tedious task for any organization. It’s therefore important for organizations to strike a balance between new security measures and the cost of manageable access.
Securing data works in the same way as securing your house. Assuming that you have just lost the keys to your house, what should you do? There exists an option where you can call a locksmith to open the door, or you can take matters on your hands and break a window. However, if you lose the encryption keys for your data, you may never again access the data as shown at https://ottomatik.io/blog/tutorials/mysql-backup/.
The possibility of data being inaccessible even to personnel with clearance is a very real danger. A lost encryption key may mean a damaged hard drive or worse, a corrupt database.
Once data has been encrypted, the keys need to be guarded against accidental loss or even theft. The following tips will guide you on how to safeguard your encryption keys from hackers.
- Secure encryption systems physically: Lock the doors and any access points of the location where you store the keys and machines used to encrypt. Access should only be granted to those with adequate knowledge and veracity. If any breach occurs, be sure to change the encryption keys periodically.
- Maintain an audit trail: An audit log is important in indicating who accessed which data and when. This is very vital in providing information which indicates a compromise in the case of any data breach.
- Separate encryption keys from the data that they decrypt: You should never store the encryption keys on the same machine that you store the encrypted data. This is because, whenever the machine is compromised, so are the keys. The best way to avoid this is to store data and the key on two different machines to reduce any instance of hack attacks.
- Keep an off-site backup of encryption keys: In the case that you have locked the keys on a single computer, what if the machine fails? What if the hard drive crashes? The keys are lost and then the encrypted data becomes inaccessible. What you should do to mitigate such an incident is to maintain an off-site backup of the encryption keys.
- Encrypt the encryption keys: This may sound impractical but think about it, if encryption helps in securing your data, why then not use the same system to encrypt the keys. This should work as an extra level of security.
- Manage the life cycle of encryption keys: The best encryption keys are those set to expire after a certain pre-determined duration of time. It doesn’t matter how well secure the key is, if the key expires before a new key is issued or back up, then the keys will be useless.
- Require Multi-factor authentication for any master key: Any authorized personnel should have access to the keys if the database needs to be backed up in the case of a disaster. However, multi-factor authentication should be in place as a security measure.
- Periodic change of keys: In the instance of a data breach, changing keys is a necessary precaution. Changing the keys periodically can also prevent a data breach if the data was unknowingly accessed.
- Lost key recovery procedure: There is something that is inevitable in computing, this is accidental data loss. Keys will be inevitably compromised, therefore having a procedure put in place for systematic key recovery will ensure data accessibility.
These are just but a few precaution measures for protecting and safeguarding the keys that protect your data. Having a full encryption management system is the way to go in ensuring that your data is foolproof.