Close-up of a vintage cipher device with rotating alphabet rings.

No matter what you use your devices for, whether for work or play, encryption is essential to using and owning technology. You may have seen the word encryption stamped with authority on websites or apps in the App Store without understanding its meaning. This article will help you understand the importance of data and device encryption and how to use it to protect yourself better online.

What is Encryption?

Encryption is a way of scrambling and anonymising data so that only authorised viewers can access a chosen piece of information. Encryption turns human text into indecipherable plaintext, making sensitive data appear like a lot of random gibberish. While an encrypted text may look like an unintelligible random series of numbers and punctuation marks, encryption services use a highly complex key or algorithm, making the code hard to crack. For a piece of data to be decrypted, a hacker must unravel the entire encryption key to retrieve one piece of information, a near-impossible task that would take a lot of manpower.

Encryption of data, passwords and devices has become more critical in a post-pandemic world. With the introduction of remote and hybrid working, the world's workforce is more spread out than ever, with companies operating fully online with no office space. This shift in work culture is seemingly here to stay, with the rise of businesses like Zoom, Slack and Google video conferencing services replacing in-person meetings.

Pre-pandemic, working from home was unheard of, with staff consistently working in offices 5 days a week. Having staff and sensitive company data all in one place (the office) made cyber security much more manageable, with less information being shared outside of the office or on personal devices. As companies had to quickly adapt to remote working, the right cyber safeguarding couldn’t be implemented to prevent cyber criminals from seizing the opportunity to attack. How can we protect ourselves in this new digital landscape with sharply rising data breaches and personal security threats?

Why should we care about Encryption?

It is painfully easy to click on a dodgy link or download an app which seems a little untrustworthy. Every day, we visit websites where we can easily pick up viruses, cookies and other malware. Data, app and file encryption means one small mistake doesn't damage your device or reveal your personal information to the wrong people. Hackers can easily access non-encrypted devices when using public wifi or shared networks, as public networks are much less secure than our private home networks.

The second you access a public network in a coffee shop or store, you leave yourself vulnerable to attack. No matter where you are or the device you use, your personal information should always remain private, regardless of whether it is sensitive. Using encryption devices ensures the only person who can access your data is you.

One pocket-size encryption device can protect your online activity, from the sites you browse to your phone's photos, conversations or passwords. This ensures your data is safe regardless of where and what sites you use. As hackers get smarter and scams or fake websites become harder to distinguish from genuine sites, an encryption device will keep you safe online, helping you safely navigate digital spaces.