Why Encryption Software is the Primary Focus of Cloud Storage Providers

Saloni Walimbe

Technology plays a big role in bringing more efficiency and ease to daily lives in the modern world. One of the core aspects of this transition to the digital world is the increasing amount of personal data we store and manage online, on servers, or in the cloud with a consistent connection to the internet. Yet, as data becomes more unyielding, cloud providers are looking to Encryption Software for protection.

Nearly all businesses, regardless of size, collect some form of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This includes birthdates, names, financial information, and Social Security numbers, among others in their operations. These days, it is almost impossible to carry out any kind of business without giving away personal data.

As technologies trigger a change in various practices across the globe, including banking, shopping, and even communication, digital security is gaining increasing prominence in the industrial domain, with the encryption software market at its core.

Why use Encryption Software?

At its simplest, encryption refers to the prevention of unauthorized access to personal data, which can include WhatsApp messages, emails, and bank details. One does this by ensuring secure communications between all involved parties. Encryption software scrambles, or “encrypts” information exchanged between one part to another. This turns the information into a long code that is unreadable to any unauthorized parties attempting to access it.

Once encrypted, the data is only accessible to people who can decrypt it back into a readable format. We achieve decryption through “keys”. These keys can limit access to only authorized users, who can control readability as per their convenience. Another name for encrypted data is ciphertext, while unencrypted data is plaintext. At present, encryption technology is considered to be among the most effective and popular data security measures implemented by organizations across the world.

Many see encryption software as an essential tool. It is an important part of data security and privacy, especially as security threats continue to multiply rapidly. 2019 saw several cybersecurity concerns, including newer types such as AI botnets, cross-site scripting XSS attacks, and formjacking, among others. Reports are suggesting that the cyberworld would create almost 44 zettabytes (ZB) of data by 2020. With an ever-increasing amount of private information being transmitted online, encryption is quickly establishing itself as an absolute necessity for more secure and private online communications.

Cloud Technologies & Encryption Software

Cloud computing has established itself as the new normal for several enterprise IT infrastructures worldwide, especially during the recent turbulent times. Across the industrial landscape, cloud technology is among the fastest-growing IT spend segments. Estimates from Forbes also suggest that an expected nearly 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020.

Cloud offers companies great convenience by allowing access to applications and data storage remotely through a virtual computing infrastructure. They also facilitate significant savings in terms of costs for businesses. They do so by mitigating the need for owning or maintaining their own IT infrastructure. In fact, studies suggest that migration to the cloud can bring average savings of almost 15% on overall IT spending.

Mant factions in the industrial world are starting to see the benefits of the cloud. The advent of cloud computing has also created a significant increase in security challenges. This is in part owing to the increased volume of personal data stored and handled by cloud operators outside of the reach of existing security measures of clients.

In this situation, many tout the encryption software industry as one of the most efficient approaches to information security. Many cloud storage providers are now shifting their focus towards cloud encryption software. The plan is to encrypt data prior to its transfer to the cloud platform for storage.

Cloud encryption technology can range from limited encryption of data that is deemed sensitive, like account credentials, to broader end-to-end encryption of any information uploaded to the cloud platform. One of the main benefits of encryption software to cloud technologies is that it allows organizations to be proactive in their defense against security breaches and cyberattacks. This makes it an essential component of the current data-driven global landscape.

How are Tech Companies Driving this Transition?

Heightened security concerns are a key challenge related to cloud technology. As a result, many industrial participants, particularly those dealing with highly sensitive information such as healthcare or finance sectors, are still skeptical about making the transition to the cloud. However, in recent years, numerous technology players have stepped up to the plate. Many initiated the development of advanced encryption software options to encourage the shift to cloud computing.

A notable example of this is Google Cloud, which in July 2020, unveiled the first part of its Confidential Computing portfolio. This includes a service that enables encryption of data while it is being processed. The product, dubbed Confidential VM (virtual machines), allows critical information to be encrypted from start to finish, even during processing. The launch of this product was a part of the company’s broader objective to make more companies in data-intensive industries comfortable running their processes on a cloud platform.

IBM Corp’s Fully Homomorphic Encryption

Similarly, IBM Corp. also introduced a free toolkit, designed to enable developers to implement Fully Homomorphic Encryption FHE). FHE is an emerging cryptography scheme that has the potential to ensure more safety than current encryption methods. It is highly resistant to quantum computers. Pioneered in 2009 by famed computer scientist Craig Gentry, FHE is a cryptographic scheme that addresses the issue of gaps in data encryption.

These gaps are most prominent when one decrypts data for use. This occurs when it is most vulnerable to attacks or breaches. FHE is targeted towards mitigating this risk, all while allowing applications to process data in its encrypted form. The generated results, also encrypted, are consistent with achieved results should the data be processed normally.

At the current stage of development, IBM is too computationally intensive for all use cases. However, it shows promising potential. For instance, IBM claimed to work with one of the largest banks in Brazil, Banco Bradesco S.A, on a project where the firm’s analysts were able to successfully run queries against an encrypted customer data set without the need to expose the raw records.

The global encryption software market forecast is very promising across applications in the BFSI, IT, and telecom. Performance in the public sectors looks equally promising.