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The History of Encryption: How security has evolved to protect your business today

As a business owner, it’s likely that encryption is a key factor within your network security, but did you know that cryptography has been evolving for centuries into modern day encryption as we know it? Understanding how effective encryption has worked for all kinds of purposes and practices in the past is a great way of making sure this tool can help to take your business into the future, even as the digital transformation revolutionises the way we handle data. So how has encryption evolved to protect you and your clients’ data today?

The starting point: How did encryption first take shape?

While the exact date encryption began to take shape varies depending on which historian you ask, it’s widely agreed that cryptography dates back as early as 2,000 BC. Perhaps the most well-known early method of encryption is Julius Caesar’s cipher, in which each letter in a message corresponds to a letter two places down the alphabet. Cryptography tools like this have paved the way for modern encryption as we know it today – put simply, encryption is a digital form of cryptography which uses algorithms or codes to keep sensitive information hidden from prying eyes.

Enigma: The beginnings of modern day encryption

Over time, encryption developed in the form of telegraphs, revolutionising communications in both wartime and everyday life. By the end of World War One however, encryption had begun to be used more and more for espionage. One of the most famous examples of this is the Enigma machine, which enciphered messages from German forces to allow secure communication. Cracking the Enigma code is credited by cutting the length of World War Two down by almost two years. Understanding how to make and break ciphers has a real life impact on the way important information is processed and transferred every day – encryption tools like the Enigma machine are the beginning of modern computing and data privacy as we understand it today.

The Internet Revolution: Encryption online

Encryption as we know it began in 1961, when the first computer password was put in place, to authenticate users’ access to MIT’s research systems. Think about how many password-protected programs you use every day. Do you make sure to use a different password with a mix of letters, numbers and symbols for each program? From your iPhone passcode to your work email address, protecting your devices with strong passwords is one of the most simple and easy methods available to keep your data safe from potential threats.

Moving to the cloud: How will encryption evolve to protect your business?

As more and more businesses move to the cloud, understanding how encryption can give you more time to revert the damage done by hackers is key to taking your network security into the future. From your bank details to your private email, your online shopping accounts and your iCloud storage, encrypting your files dramatically slows down the hackers’ ability to use your data to their advantage. The best way to make sure your information is never left in plain sight of cyber attacks is to undertake encryption across all your devices and softwares; as well as your hard drive, this includes your cloud data transfers, smartphones and tablets and across any network you transmit private information across. As well as making sure your data never falls into the wrong hands, data loss prevention tools like encryption are crucial for maintaining GDPR compliance, and ensuring your business stays on the right side of the regulations.

Now that you know where encryption came from, are you interested in learning more about how data security can secure your business’s infrastructure? Take a look at our blog on the uses of encryption today to make sure your business is free from cyber attacks far into the future.

Don’t let confusion around security techniques stop you from effectively securing your infrastructure. Our team of experienced engineers help you utilise the most effective trends to your advantage, so your security remains watertight. Have a look at the range of security solutions we offer to revitalise your security systems.


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