Encryption: What it is and why its important – Norton

Encryption is the process of helping protect personal data by using a secret code to scramble it so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesnt have the code key. Today, vast amounts of personal information are managed online and stored in the cloud or on servers with an ongoing connection to the web. Its nearly impossible to do business of any kind without personal data ending up in a networked computer system, which is why its important to know how to help keep that data private.

Most legitimate websites use what is called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which is a form of encrypting data when it is being sent to and from a website. This keeps attackers from accessing that data while it is in transit. Look for the green padlock icon in the URL bar, and the S in the https:// to make sure you are conducting secure, encrypted transactions online.

Its a good idea to access sites utilizing SSL when:

3 reasons why encryption mattersWhy is encryption important? Here are three reasons:

1. Internet privacy concerns are real Encryption helps protect privacy by turning personal information into for your eyes only messages intended only for the parties that need them and no one else. You should make sure that your emails are being sent over an encrypted connection, or that you are encrypting each message. Most email clients come with the option for encryption in the settings menu, and if you check your email with a web browser, take a moment to ensure that SSL encryption is available.

2. Hacking is big businessHackers arent just bored kids in a basement anymore. Theyre big business, and in some cases, theyre multinational outfits. Large-scale data breaches that you may have heard about in the news demonstrate that people are out to steal personal information to fill their pockets.

3. Regulations demand it Healthcare providers are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to implement security features that protect patients sensitive health information. Institutions of higher learning must take similar steps under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), while retailers must contend with the Fair Credit Practices Act (FCPA) and similar laws. Encryption helps businesses stay compliant as well as helps protect the valuable data of their customers.

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Encryption: What it is and why its important - Norton

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