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The Mechanics of Transparent Data Encryption

Etienne Lopes takes us through the process of using Transparent Data Encryption:

Securing data has always been important but as time goes by, more and more data is available all around us, some of it is considered sensitive data and it becomes a major concern to protect it somehow, in fact in certain cases it is legally mandatory to comply with certain regulations (like GDPR). SQL Server offers a few options regarding data protection (either by means of encryption or obfuscation), TDE being one of them.

In this post I’ll explain what is TDE along with its use cases and I’ll use a thorough demo to show how to implement it in a database and how it works

I do tend to give TDE disrespect (disrespect that I think it deserves) but it does allow you to check a compliance box without enormous cost. The problem is, I don’t think it moves the needle in terms of proper security when the attacker has admin status on the machine hosting SQL Server and other techniques (e.g., encrypting backups, encrypting specific columns) are better at preventing security issues in other common data scenarios. I’m just not sure there’s a case where TDE helps and there isn’t already a better solution.