Paul Dillien, High Tech Marketing
3/2/2011 2:58 PM EST
We all use encryption every day, often without realising it. On-line purchases, ATM transactions, and cell phone calls are all routinely encrypted, so it is strange to think that data is frequently stored in an unencrypted manner on home and business computer systems. Data forms a very valuable and sensitive asset for a company, and the loss or theft of a PC or the hacking of the corporate network can lead to significant costs from lost revenue and commercial secrets.
Encrypted data storage shares much in common with streaming data, as both rely on complex manipulation using a key that is kept secret from a would-be attacker or adversary. The key needs to include a sufficient number of bits so that – for all practical purposes – it never repeats itself.
Unlike many schemes used for encrypting streaming data, the data storage community decided against any expansion of the encrypted data compared to the “plaintext”, even though today’s drives are produced with huge storage capacities. In this context, the term “plaintext” refers to any unencrypted data, which could be a document, video clip, photo, spreadsheet or any form of file that is stored on the system’s drive(s).
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