The Unintended Consequences of Data Encryption

The Unintended Consequences of Data Encryption

You’ve probably heard that Apple refused to help the FBI break into the phone of the man responsible for the San Bernardino shooting last year. Apple argued the importance of sticking to its privacy standards, and not breaking those standards for any exception—even when it’s to help the FBI. Many people celebrated Apple for enforcing their privacy standards, and many are even pushing for more companies to maintain the same standards. However, another recent encryption-breakthrough request hits a personal level: a man asking for Apple to let him into his dead son’s phone to be able to access and keep his son’s stored memories. Apple denied the request, citing the same privacy standards. But in doing so, it brings up a concern for organizations: what happens in regard to employee phones if a similar situation were to occur?

Losing Data-Encrypted Information

Let’s say that your company has 100 employees. Each of those employees is given an Apple iPhone for work purposes. Each employee has a very specific job within the company, and each employee has vital assets and gains valuable information that allows the company to function and be profitable. Since the employee iPhones carry work information, security is of highest priority, so each employee has to have their phone password protected and the data encrypted. Now imagine that one of your employees is suddenly laid off unexpectedly and merely leaves his phone on his desk while walking out the door. Or in a grimmer scenario, but closer to the case with the father and his son’s phone, one of your employees is killed in a car accident, leaving all of his recent work information on his phone. If Apple is more concerned about privacy that the importance of information saving, what can be done to prevent any vital work information from being lost in the encrypted tangle of iPhone security? Is that information lost forever? As father Leonardo Fabbretti wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “I will fight to have the last two months of photos, thoughts and words which are held hostage in his phone,” how much will a company have to struggle without ever accessing lost information?

Possible Solution to Losing Encrypted Data

For Fabbretti, Apple isn’t offering any solutions. But for your company, there may be a viable solution: cloud storage. Almost all smart phones have direct cloud storing capabilities. You can take a picture and save it to the cloud instead of the phone. Or you can write up a document and save it to your online collection. So if a company doesn’t want to have to deal with trying to break through data-encrypted devices, cloud solutions are the best answer. Employees can save their important work information straight to the cloud—whether it be a shared work online database or an individualized one, with cloud storage, access to files can be more easily accessed. And with secured cloud accounts, you don’t have to worry about losing information to hackers or when a password can’t be uncovered. So before we worry about losing all hope from encrypted data, consider saving to the cloud and avoiding the unintended consequences of data encryption.

Source: CNN Money

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