Patrick Walsh

Top 3 Ways to Justify Encryption to the Business

Have you ever tried to convince a coworker or boss that you need to secure sensitive data by encrypting it? As the CEO of a tech company that focuses entirely on encryption solutions, these are conversations I have on a daily basis with architects, CISOs, product managers, and engineers. I’ve noticed several trends that come up consistently.

In order to talk about encryption, I start by explaining why securing sensitive data matters — because if keeping data safe doesn’t matter, then encryption really doesn’t matter, either.

Obviously, it makes sense to secure the data from a privacy and security point of view, but it makes good business sense, too. If you need to convince someone in your organization, here are three reasons you can share with them.

1. Privacy is essential to enterprise customers

For 84% of businesses, data privacy is the number one priority when evaluating and buying software (Gartner). Your prospective and current customers care about who sees their data, how their data is used, and how it’s protected.

Data encrypted at rest and in transit isn’t cutting it anymore. Companies who demonstrate that they take security seriously and who differentiate on privacy are winning in the market.

How Encryption Helps

Trust sells. To earn the trust of data-conscious customers, you’ll have to offer meaningful and demonstrable data protection, which application-layer encryption and customer controls accomplish. If you don’t, your competitor will, and you’ll be the one caught with an outdated story.

Differentiate with advanced data protection to win deals.

2. The EU means business

Don’t gamble with data loss. GDPR isn’t playing around. If you have European customers, you have a maze of obligations around how to treat their data, where it can be stored, where it can be processed, and how to protect it from secret U.S. court subpoenas that bypass EU privacy protections. The EU doesn’t recognize the U.S. as a country with adequate privacy protections so technical measures must be used by U.S. companies.

Even if you aren’t a U.S. company, watch out for GDPR fines for insufficient data protection.

How Encryption Helps

Encrypting data and giving customers control of their keys is the number one way to use technical measures to meet GDPR and avoid large fines.

The fines are just the tip of the iceberg, getting tangled up with regulators can kill your focus, your customer trust, and your ability to execute in the EU.

3. Mistakes are inevitable

To err is human; the more complicated your software stack, the more inevitable mistakes become. Companies should view the risk of unauthorized access as close to 100% over 3 years.

95% of breaches result from human error (World Economic Forum) and the top two causes of cloud breaches are misconfigurations and stolen credentials. Most companies lack any layers that prevent these mistakes from turning into disastrous data breaches. 

How Encryption Helps

Layering data protection inside your perimeter using application-layer encryption prevents common errors such as phished credentials, software vulnerabilities, and misconfigurations from becoming expensive, organization-wide, and board-level fire drills.

This is because the data stays protected even when a malicious person is inside the network. No other security measure does as much to protect you once someone is inside your network.

The time is right to tackle your debt

In 2022, at least 94% of organizations had one or more unencrypted services exposed. Elasticsearch, in particular, has a high rate of compromise (source). 

When it comes to sensitive data, search services like Elasticsearch and OpenSearch are the ultimate treasure trove for hackers. Why slowly sift through and exfiltrate information when a search service helps you find all the juiciest stuff quickly?  

That’s why our customers love Cloaked Search, a transparent drop-in proxy that encrypts data before it goes to Elasticsearch or OpenSearch while still allowing you to search over that encrypted data; no plugins required. Learn more about how it works and give it a try. And take a look at our flagship application-layer encryption solution, SaaS Shield, while you’re at it. We keep making it easier and more powerful.

Encrypt Elasticsearch and OpenSearch

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