The Role of Encryption in Web Application Security

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon January 13, 2023

In Brief

How Does Encryption Work?

Encryption is the systematic way to secure your sensitive data and information. The process involved a method that converts the data into a secret code hiding the information’s correct meaning. This ensures that data cannot be used against you even if it falls into the hands of hackers. The process is known as cryptography where the unencrypted data is called plaintext and the encrypted data is called ciphertext. The data is coded using advanced encryption algorithms also known as ciphers. There is a ‘key’ to every cipher which is a unique output variable. You need that decryption key to decode the encrypted data for getting access to the information. If an attacker gets its hands on your data, he/she needs to put in the correct ‘unique decryption key’ to access the information. Guessing or breaching the encryption code is quite unlikely. This is what makes encryption a trustworthy security tool for your data.

98%

of web applications are susceptible to attacks that can directly affect the users associated with them.

91%

of web applications suffered through breaches of sensitive data in 2021.

60%

of organizations in a survey confirmed that they transfer sensitive files to the cloud regardless of whether they are encrypted or unreadable.

50%

of organizations only have a consistent encryption strategy.

How does Encryption Help Web Application Security?

A website or web application handles a lot of useful and sensitive information about the related business. In all states: at rest, in use, or in transition, data is susceptible to a wide range of threats. Hackers are targeting web applications quite predominantly these days. This makes it necessary for the business owner to tighten the security bolts on their respective web applications. Encryption has the potential to completely transform the face of your web application’s data security.

The basic architectural designs of web applications have been rapidly changing with time. Security experts who conduct web application penetration testing have adapted to it. Teams involved in data encryptions must do the same. They need to figure out the ideal strategy to protect the underlying data before initiating the encryption process. No doubt, encryption can uplift the security levels of your data within web applications. But you need to follow the right protocol and adopt the best practices for it. Otherwise, it might lead to compliance audit failures, regulatory failures, and brand damage due to poor security practices. Let us now have a close look at the best practices for encryption regarding web applications.

Best Encryption Practices for Web Application Security

The following are the best practices to adopt for ensuring optimum data security in your web applications:

1.Separation of Encryption Keys from Data

A lot of people commit the mistake of storing the encrypted data and the key together. If you hang the keys alongside the lock on your gate, what’s the point of putting a lock there? Similarly, if you are storing the security key along with the encrypted data, hackers can access them both and decode your data with the help of the key. Therefore, it is important to separate the keys from the protected data to ensure that it is safe even if the hackers get their hands on it.

2. Separation of Duties

Divide and conquer is the best approach in terms of data security. Here, this refers to dividing responsibility among multiple administrators in terms of protecting web application data. It is advised to separate the system, network, and database functions from the encryption key management functions. Also, the security administrators who have access to the data, must not be granted access to the encryption keys.

3. Dual Control

Dual control here refers to the approach of appointing two individuals to perform the critical operation. For instance, encryption keys are critical and secret. To ensure better security, at least two people must authenticate to create and manage encryption keys.

4. Limited Access

Least privilege access is a known concept of data security. It must be applied to encryption strategy as well. To minimize the risk of loss, make sure the encryption key is accessible to as few individuals as possible.

Before You Go

  • All things considered; encryption is a protocol that can substantially improve the data security posture of your web application.
  • You can take the help of expert cyber security firms in your proximity to help your security teams with the encryption of your sensitive information.

Tags

  • Web application penetration testing
  • Web application security

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