Definition: Encryption refers to the process of applying a special mathematical operations to a standard stream of data (text, special characters, audio, video) and converting the readable data into an "unreadable format". This is basically accomplished using using processing algorithms of varying strengths. The data stream or message (once encrypted) can be sent from one individual to another in a form that is indiscernible and then "translated" by the recipient using a pre-determined "key" to "unlock" the message. The deciphered message is then be displayed in its original format. The organization's information security policies should outline how and when the ciphering of messages and documents is to be used.
Its Relevance: Rendering data streams or messages unreadable, except for individuals with the appropriate key, is a very powerful information assurance tool that strongly supports maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive information. Cryptography is a powerful tool that is related to providing for the confidentiality of sensitive information. It's important that every organization have an policies addressing the matter.
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