For many people, the word “encryption” invokes images of spies, clandestine operations and World War II code breakers feverishly working to decipher enemy messages. Actually, encryption is a priceless security tool that any business can easily use to keep sensitive information confidential and safe from prying eyes.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to take advantage of encryption technology, fearing that it’s too complex and difficult to use on a routine basis. In reality, encrypting vital data isn’t much more difficult than running a virus scanner or a data-backup program. Here’s how to get started.
There are two basic ways to encrypt data. One approach is to use asymmetricPKI (public-key infrastructure) encryption. PKI cryptography is based on a pair of cryptographic keys: One is private and known only to the user, while the other is public and known to the opposite party in any exchange. The easiest way to use encryption is to purchase a business application or a hardware product that incorporates some form of encryption technology. Microsoft’s Outlook Express email client, for example, provides built-in encryption support. Meanwhile, vendors such as Seagate Technology LLC and Hitachi Ltd. have started incorporating encryption technology into their hard drives. So how do you know what to encrypt? Here are some places to start: Like any technology, encryption software isn’t perfect. Even the best products consume both processor speed and storage space. Users can also lose or forget passwords, thereby potentially locking systems forever. Stay Safe..
PKI technology provides privacy and confidentiality, access control, proof of document transmission, and document archiving and retrieval support. While most security vendors currently incorporate some type of PKI technology into their software, differences in design and implementation prevent interoperability between products.
The other method of encrypting data is symmetric key protection, also known as “secret-key” encryption. Generally speedier yet less secure than PKI, symmetric encryption uses the same key to both encrypt and decrypt messages. Symmetric technology works best when key distribution is restricted to a limited number of trusted individuals. Since symmetric encryption can be fairly easy to break, it’s primarily used for safeguarding relatively unimportant information or material that only has to be protected for a short period of time.
Since most software applications and hardware products don’t include any type of internal encryption technology, business owners and managers need to look for stand-alone encryption products. This can be a confusing process, one that’s best approached by first determining the business’s precise security requirements, then finding an encryption product that fits each need.
Microsoft Vista Enterprise and Ultimate users can take advantage of BitLocker Drive Encryption, a full disk tool that offers powerful 1024-bit encryption. Another Windows offering is EFS (Encrypting File System), which uses symmetrical PKI technology to provide file encryption.
Beyond Microsoft, leading encryption vendors and products include PGP, open-source TrueCrypt, DESlock+, Namo FileLock and T3 Basic Security.
What to Encypt
Before purchasing any encryption tool, carefully research the product. Make sure that the offering addresses your company’s needs, is compatible with your systems and has a good track record concerning reliability and support. If possible, check with your friends and colleagues for their opinions on various encryption tools.
There are two basic ways to encrypt data. One approach is to use asymmetricPKI (public-key infrastructure) encryption. PKI cryptography is based on a pair of cryptographic keys: One is private and known only to the user, while the other is public and known to the opposite party in any exchange.
The easiest way to use encryption is to purchase a business application or a hardware product that incorporates some form of encryption technology. Microsoft’s Outlook Express email client, for example, provides built-in encryption support. Meanwhile, vendors such as Seagate Technology LLC and Hitachi Ltd. have started incorporating encryption technology into their hard drives.
So how do you know what to encrypt? Here are some places to start:
Like any technology, encryption software isn’t perfect. Even the best products consume both processor speed and storage space. Users can also lose or forget passwords, thereby potentially locking systems forever.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have revolutionized web hosting during the past few years. Rather than hosting your website a single server, you can distribute the files and load across multiple systems.
There are a number of free CDNs offered by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and other large web organizations. For example, few people host their own videos when YouTube and Vimeo offer amazing free services. Similarly, if you require jQuery, you can load it on any page using:
There are several reasons why a CDN could benefit your website and company.
1. Different domains
Browsers limit the number of concurrent connections (file downloads) to a single domain. Most permit four active connections so the fifth download is blocked until one of the previous files has been fully retrieved. You can often see this limit in action when downloading many large files from the same site.
CDN files are hosted on a different domain. In effect, a single CDN permits the browser to download a further four files at the same time.
2. Files may be pre-cached
jQuery is ubiquitous on the web. There’s a high probability that someone visiting your pages has already visited a site using the Google CDN. Therefore, the file has already been cached by your browser and won’t need to be downloaded again.
3. High-capacity infrastructures
You may have great hosting but I bet it doesn’t have the capacity or scalability offered by Google, Microsoft or Yahoo. The better CDNs offer higher availability, lower network latency and lower packet loss.
4. Distributed data centers
If your main web server is based in Dallas, users from Europe or Asia must make a number of trans-continental electronic hops when they access your files. Many CDNs provide localized data centers which are closer to the user and result in faster downloads.
5. Built-in version control
6. Usage analytics
Many commercial CDNs provide file usage reports since they generally charge per byte. Those reports can supplement your own website analytics and, in some cases, may offer a better impression of video views and downloads.
7. Boosts performance and saves money
A CDN can distribute the load, save bandwidth, boost performance and reduce your existing hosting costs — often for free.
The cloud was used to indicate the Internet. Over time the meaning of “the Internet” has shifted, where it now includes the resources usually perceived as being on the Internet as well as the means to access them.
The term cloud computing came into popular use just a few years ago. Some were quick to claim that, rather than a new concept, the term was simply another name for an existing practice. On the other hand, the term has become sufficiently powerful for some existing web applications have to magically turned into examples of cloud computing in action! Such is the power of marketing.
While the specifics may vary from vendor to vendor, you can think of the cloud as a coherent, large-scale, publicly accessible collection of compute, storage, and net- working resources. These are allocated via web service calls (a programmable inter- face accessed via HTTP requests), and are available for short- or long-term use in exchange for payment based on actual resources consumed.
The cloud is intrinsically a multi-user environment, operating on behalf of a large number of users simultaneously. As such, it’s responsible for managing and verifying user identity, tracking allocation of resources to users, providing exclusive access to the resources owned by each user, and preventing one user from interfering with other users. The software that runs each vendor’s cloud is akin to an operating system in this regard.
Cloud computing builds on a number of important foundation-level technologies, including TCP-IP networking, robust internet connectivity, SOAP- and REST-style web services, commodity hardware, virtualization, and online payment systems. The details of many of these technologies are hidden from view; the cloud provides developers with an idealized, abstracted view of the available resources.
Envisioning an iPhone app and bringing it to life can be an intimidating process. Here are some tips to help you get some movement with your app idea.
What is Web 3.0? One difficulty in nailing down a definition or metric for evaluating Web 3.0 is the lack of a clear, distinct definition of Web 2.0.
Most people agree what Web 2.0 is an interactive and social web facilitating collaboration between people. This is distinct from the early web (Web 1.0) which was a static information dump where people read websites but rarely interacted with them.
If we distill the essence of change between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, we can derive an answer. What is Web 3.0? It is the next fundamental change both in how websites are created and, more importantly, how people interact with them.
A decade ago, 100KB was considered to be the absolute maximum total file size for a single web page. Today, developers rarely adhere to any limits thanks to the availability of high-speed broadband. However, there are several reasons why you should still worry about every byte:
Fortunately, there are a number of browser extensions which can help you identify technical bottlenecks. The most well-known are Yahoo’s YSlow for Firefox/Firebug and Google’s Page Speed for Firefox/Firebug and Chrome. The choices are more limited if you’re using IE, Opera or Safari and the plug-ins may not be practical if you’re working away from your PC.
Therefore, Google has recently released Page Speed Online — an experimental tool which provides a list of helpful tips which could improve your website performance. Enter a URL and you’ll be shown a list of high, medium and low priority suggestions:
Censorship Worldwide provides information on how you can ensure access to the internet while protecting your safety through online trainings, alerts, materials and news on government censorship and surveillance efforts.
Firewalls, monitoring and government blocks of websites are only the tip of the iceberg. Fear and the self-censorship it creates can be a powerful enemy to the cause of human rights defenders and advocates.
Only through education on technological solutions to circumvent firewalls and protecting one’s digital security can we ensure the work of civil society movements around the world are protected.