What Marketers Need to Know About Encryption
Marketing managers are being forced to consider new ways to protect marketing information. Today, the manager faces internal and external compliance regulations in addition to balancing a budget, making the numbers and managing workloads with less people. If that wasn’t enough, most now are the “owners” of customer databases and e-commerce data they are to protect against criminal assaults.
The increasing number of criminal attacks on consumer and employee databases have wrought a high price and much mistrust with regard to individual privacy and trust. One only has to open the papers today to see yet another consumer database has been compromised. Security experts indicate the growing amount of personal data, including credit card numbers, stored by large companies’ databases continues to make corporations a target of ever-more advanced and increasingly quiet attackers.
Databases are a critical component of today’s business systems, and data integrity and security are paramount concerns for managers responsible for those databases. The task of safeguarding data assets is multifaceted, but two central aspects are ensuring that: data is changed only in intended ways, and only the proper parties view the data.
Implementing suitable privacy, security policies and encryption is an important step, but it does not address three important realities:
1. Authorized users will sometimes access data inappropriately, whether deliberately or accidentally.
2. Policy flaws and implementation can introduce vulnerability, enabling unintended data access or database changes.
3. Uncontrolled passwords that are carelessly managed, stored or casually given to colleagues, vendors and even customers can ultimately compromise security.
To combat the threat from fraud and hackers, most major organizations use some form of digital encryption to protect sensitive data during transmission and in storage. If you don’t understand encryption, it is the process of transforming a message into ciphertext, a character string that appears random and meaningless. You can read an encrypted message only if you can unscramble, or decrypt, the ciphertext to expose the original message. Math is the key to a good cryptographic system; mathematical algorithms that perform encryption are called ciphers and have keys to unlock or decrypt the message.