Cryptography is becoming increasingly important for businesses to use in securing their digital assets. Encoding digital messages relies on an encryption scheme that uses two mathematically related – but not identical keys – that act as encryptors and decryptors of data points in larger datasets.
However, there are still plenty of businesses that haven’t built in the necessary levels of crypto-agility in their enterprise IT infrastructure frameworks to keep their cybersecurity posture strong, now and in the future.
It's important that businesses adopt public key infrastructure (PKI)-based solutions to secure user sessions with access to sensitive data, and that they establish the best practices possible for digital signatures and private key storage and protection. These practices vary depending on the types of certificate(s) you use, as well as what your CISO and their security teams use them for.
Decentralization creates more secure data-sharing
Cryptography allows for feasible methods to decentralize information stored on remote systems and reduce points of network access to potential cyber breaches. Decentralization on a large scale works with the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, such as popular services BitTorrent and Skype, which have no single point of data storage.
Businesses that are going digital with cloud-hosted security solutions and want to adopt crypto-agility need decentralized information-sharing over P2P networks if they’re interested in constantly accessing and altering encrypted data. These P2P networks secure information using digital identities, which in turn secure themselves from data breaches by using cryptographic hashing methods.
Hashing methods are essential to converting original, unaltered versions of digital documents and other forms of data to digitally signed and secure ones, which is made possible by hashing methods that map data of variable sizes to single data points of a fixed size.
Bitcoin is arguably the most popular example of a digital asset that relies on cryptography to maintain a decentralized, cloud-hosted P2P ledger of transactions. Powered by cryptographic protocols, Bitcoin exists as a decentralized asset that owes much of its success to robust digital signatures and data-mapping techniques.
Since the bitcoin network is wholly P2P, users can continue to send assets that are inherently valuable without ever needing to gain approval from an external source or authority that exercises centralized control over their payments. It’s largely for this reason that so many people have been drawn to bitcoin as an asset, and to the point that it’s seen a 270% price climb since March of 2020 alone.
Homomorphic encryption makes data safer to work with
Homomorphic encryption is a specific type of cryptographic encryption that deals with data points encrypted by homomorphic systems. Basically, data that's undergone homomorphic encryption in a dataset can be sent to a third party, who will be able to arrive at a value that you can then decrypt accurately and without requesting admin-level third-party decrypting permissions.
At first glance, the value offered by homomorphic encryption might seem pretty niche. But in fact, the power to work with third-party data without needing to decrypt it has considerable advantages for many remote organizations.
At a fundamental level, fully homomorphic encryption solves what's otherwise known as a sysadmin problem. If you're processing computations against data points in a larger data set but are completing all of those computations in a third-party system, the third-party operators are the only users that have root privileges to access that data.
But, if you adopt fully homomorphic encryption, your business doesn't need to worry about exposing sensitive sets of data to a third-party system - this solves the “sysadmin” problem pretty thoroughly by ensuring the remote machine never has access to decrypted data, and neither do its root-privileged operators.
Business owners should begin thinking about this concept of outsourcing data storage and how it can become a cost-effective strategy to slash personnel-related costs and get rid of maintenance downtime on your full-fledged data centers.
It's possible to reduce this downtime and increase cost efficiencies by using homomorphic encryption to add to or modify encrypted data securely in the cloud. This also grants the ability to calculate and search through sets of encrypted data without needing to decrypt it on a third-party system that's also being used by root-privileged users who you don’t want to have access to your data.
Cryptography mathematics establishes secure session keys
Digital assaults led by attackers known as cryptanalysts succeed when they gain access to your session keys that encrypt and decrypt sensitive data. To protect these keys, cryptographic asymmetric algorithms use mathematical problems such as integer factorization and discrete logarithmic problems to protect against misuse of SSH keys, TLS certificates, and code signing.
Security services that protect digital assets benefit from cryptographic algorithms in that they become more confidential and stand a better chance of having their data integrity preserved through encryption. In order to set up security services as applications and protocols, businesses need to investigate cryptographic mathematics like asymmetric key algorithms to protect their data security.
These asymmetric algorithms are used to create digital signatures that can establish secure session keys for cases such as TLS protocol. Digital businesses can then use asymmetric encryption as a way to circumvent the risk of having their session keys become intercepted over an insecure connection by malicious entities, and specifically when trying to encrypt and decrypt their data transmission.
CISOs and their cybersecurity teams need to begin to think seriously about the strategies they'll use to achieve crypto-agility in the near future. To achieve this agility, the CISOs of remote organizations in particular need to collaborate with the framework architects responsible for maintaining and upgrading their business’s IT infrastructure.
Specifically, this collaboration between security teams and framework architects is vital to creating an enterprise IT security framework that considers both crypto management and crypto-agility, as well as the latest crypto-related algorithms like homomorphic and asymmetric encryptions.
Organizations will benefit from adopting crypto-agility as part of their enterprise IT security framework by gaining greater insight into the security keys they already use, reducing and eliminating service outages because of expired security keys, and cutting down on overhead costs that have been previously invested in audit inquiries.
This adoption can ultimately lead to remote companies greatly improving their security and enjoying lower operating costs through leveraging automation, but only so long as CISOs become and remain responsible for implementing policies for all business applications to include the most recent and reliable cryptographic algorithms.
Note: This blog article was written by a guest contributor for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of GlobalSign.