Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Purpose of Data Encryption

Matthew McGiffen thinks through the benefits of encryption:

On the face of it, this is a very obvious question with a very obvious answer. We want to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands. In practice, it gets a little more complicated.

Exactly what types of attacks do you wish to be protected against? It’s good if we make sure our data is encrypted where it is stored on the disk, but that doesn’t help us if an attacker gains direct access to write queries against the database. We might encrypt data held in columns, but does that still protect us if the unencrypted data is being passed back across the network to our application and an attacker is intercepting our network traffic?

I did a Ctrl-F for “compliance” and didn’t see anything. Nor for checking boxes to keep regulators off our backs. It seems Matthew is going for the good answers here.