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5 Reasons Why Encrypting Everything is a Bad Idea

Data security remains a top priority for modern businesses. However, a one-size-fits-all approach to information protection can hinder agility. While encrypting everything with the most stringent protocols might seem pertinent, it's often impractical in today's data-driven world.  Without easy access to data, business operations can stall and innovation can stifle. Today, collaboration and data usability are just as important as data security.

Encryption is a must-have security mechanism for organizations. Traditionally, businesses have encrypted all sensitive documents entirely. While this approach seems like the default, here are five reasons why encrypting everything can be a bad idea:

  1. Limited Collaboration: Full encryption restricts access not only to sensitive information but also to non-sensitive sections within documents. Users need additional authorization steps or decryption processes even for non-sensitive details, which slows down workflows and hinders real-time collaboration, especially with external partners.

  2. Lost LLM Potential: LLMs can’t access or analyze encrypted data and documents, preventing organizations from leveraging the speed and efficiency of LLMs for repetitive and resource-intensive tasks like data extraction and analysis. With all unstructured data fully encrypted, organizations also can't train or fine-tune open-source LLMs for custom needs and business-specific tasks unless they choose to fully decrypt it, which is either restrictive or unsecure.

  3. Obstructed Search and Indexing: Internal search engines cannot index, search for, or retrieve data across encrypted documents. Full and pervasive encryption essentially makes them ineffective, significantly slowing down organizational workflows and making searching across data troves virtually impossible.

  4. Limited Analytics and Monetization options: Encrypted documents become inaccessible to data analysis tools. This prevents organizations from extracting valuable insights and unlocking the data's potential for revenue generation. As a result, businesses also lose out on opportunities to identify trends, optimize processes, and develop targeted marketing strategies.

  5. Inefficient Resource Consumption: Encrypting and decrypting large volumes of data is computationally expensive. It can lead to a noticeable strain on system resources, impacting the overall performance and user productivity. Simple tasks like opening documents or searching for information may become slower, ultimately affecting user experience.

The Solution: Selective Encryption is Better

Selective encryption is an efficient, convenient, and equally secure alternative to the “all-or-nothing” approach to encryption. It allows businesses to encrypt only the sensitive parts of data, documents, or files, enhancing data usability, collaboration, and efficiency without compromising security.

Here’s why selective encryption is a better solution:

  1. Maintaining Utility: Selective encryption secures only the sensitive portions of documents, allowing the rest to remain fully usable for enterprise activities such as searching, indexing, AI model training, and collaboration.

  2. Minimal User Impact: All users don’t need to see sensitive data to perform their tasks. Selective encryption provides robust security for highly sensitive data without significantly affecting the user experience for most users.

  3. Enforcement of Least Privilege Access: Selective encryption aligns with the principle of least privilege. It ensures that users can only access the information relevant to their job roles and tasks.

  4. Performance Gains: Selective encryption reduces strain on system resources by minimizing the volume of data that must be encrypted or decrypted. Certain tasks that do not require sensitive data can be performed without any additional processing. 

By strategically deploying selective encryption, you can achieve a balance between robust security, seamless collaboration, and maximum data utilization. This approach fosters security and agility, empowering businesses to thrive in a data-driven landscape that also happens to be threat-ridden. Confidencial is one of the pioneers of this concept with a patented selective protection technology. It integrates seamlessly with your existing document workflows, processing tools, and productivity suites.

Request a free demo today and witness firsthand how Confidencial fosters collaboration while safeguarding sensitive information!

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