Always Encrypted was a new encryption feature added to SQL Server with the 2016 version of the product. Initially it was just available in enterprise edition, but from SQL Server 2016, SP1 was made available in standard edition also.
Unlike TDE which encrypts the whole database, Always Encrypted is a form of column encryption that means you choose which columns of data you want to encrypt. The “Always” part of Always Encrypted refers to the fact that data is encrypted at rest, in memory, and as it is transmitted across the network. That means that it provides the highest level of protection possible for your data.
Read on to learn more about what makes it different from other forms of encryption in SQL Server and the way this feature works.