If you work in the corporate world, you’ll be familiar with cybersecurity rules and regulations. Unfortunately, cyber-attacks are taking place at an astounding rate and have become a key challenge for companies across sectors, sizes and geographies.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, more than 2,000 cyber-attacks occur around the globe each day – that’s an incident every 39 seconds - and these attacks have significant consequences. Estimates suggest that by 2025, global cybercrime will cost $10.5 trillion annually, not to mention the personal security risks and reputational damage that can occur as a result of a hack.
With stakes this high, there’s no doubt that cybersecurity must be top of every organization’s agenda. Many different solutions and approaches exist, but no matter the tactics, encryption should be central to any cybersecurity strategy. Encryption technology converts sensitive data into code that only the intended recipient can decipher, thus facilitating the safe transfer and access of important information. Let’s take a look at some of the key encryption-based offerings that businesses can utilize to protect against malicious and costly attacks.
SSL Certificates play a critical role in securing websites for businesses of all sizes. Installing SSL Server Certificates on a website lets companies enable the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, a standard solution used to ensure online transaction security. TLS guarantees that a user’s session on a website remains fully encrypted and that all the data transferred between the user and the website is kept secure. This is evidenced by a padlock icon displayed in the browser bar. SSL Certificates also provide server authentication, which allows the user to verify the authenticity of a given site.
There are three categories of SSL Certificates: Extended Validation (EV), Organization Validation (OV) and Domain Validation (DV), all of which offer the same level of encryption but with different approaches to vetting and verification. In addition to these categories, there are also several types of SSL Certificates available, including Single Domain, SAN and Wildcard. Which you use depends on how many domains and subdomains you’re looking to protect with the certificate.
When considering an SSL Certificate provider, it’s important to choose one with experience implementing all categories and types of certificates, as well as the knowledge to help you pick the best option for protecting your business. For increased flexibility, look for a security partner that enables clients to request and issue their own certificates with a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). This can help expedite processes and reduce reliance on external teams to implement new certificates. Some providers also offer services that deliver certificates automatically – another plus for increasing efficiency.
Encryption also plays an invaluable role in email communications. Business emails are a common entry point for cyber criminals and a source of costly attacks. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as of December 2021, global business email compromise attacks had resulted in more than $43 billion in losses.
Safeguarding the confidentiality and integrity of all business emails has never been more important and obtaining S/MIME certificates is a crucial step in keeping communications secure. S/MIME Certificates provide powerful protection against email hacks with end-to-end encryption and a digital signature. They ensure that email material is accessed only by the intended recipient and allow that recipient to easily confirm the sender’s identity.
When selecting an email security solution, consider vendors with Corporate S/MIME Certificate options that can configure the technical signature method to a company’s specific regulatory framework, as well as other particular needs. The ability to tailor the solution in this way can help ease adoption. If you want to test the effectiveness of S/MIME Certificates on your personal email, look for a vendor that offers free options for this use.
Code Signing Certificates, which are essential in protecting against harmful malware attacks, are a third tool that all businesses should have in their cybersecurity arsenal. These certificates allow users to put a digital signature on a wide range of software or application components to confirm their origin, guarantee authorship and ensure code has not been altered. Code Signing Certificates connect the identity of an IT organization to a private key used by the developer or distributor to sign the code, as well as a public key that allows the end-user to verify the identity of the signing party, thus ensuring the software is reliable.
These certificates can provide valuable protection against potentially crippling malware attacks, but there are a few best practices to consider to ensure their effective use. First, limit the number of personnel who are able to access the machines used for the code signing process – the fewer people with access to the private keys, the lower the chance of error or misuse that could compromise the protection. Keep close track of all code signing operations to prevent the signature of unapproved or malicious code, and store the keys with security-compliant tools to reduce the chance of attacks. It’s also recommended to scan for viruses before signing any code and add a timestamp to the signed code. Finally, don’t sign all software with the same certificate and be sure to change keys frequently.
There’s no doubt that cyber-attacks have become a constant threat for today’s businesses. Fortunately, encryption technology exists to help organizations protect themselves in today’s hostile cyber environment. By utilizing encryption and implementing critical safety solutions and measures, businesses have the ability to thwart malicious attackers and protect against damaging hacks. Encryption may only be one piece of the puzzle, but its applications are far-reaching across the security space – making it central to any cybersecurity strategy.
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