What is decryption?

Decryption is the process of transforming encrypted information into its original, decipherable format. The process of decryption takes the ambiguous data that was originally received and translates it into words and images that a human can comprehend. 

Decryption is a necessary component of cybersecurity processes, because encryption requires scrambling words and pictures in order to securely send them to a different user through the internet. 

The process of encrypting and decrypting data adds an extra layer of defense, since hackers who obtain that data in motion will not be able to comprehend it. 

How MSPs use decryption for cybersecurity 

Since many MSPs rely on encryption to prevent data exfiltration, decryption is a necessary element of this cybersecurity tactic. MSPs can use data decryption to share sensitive information — like passwords and usernames, financial information, or IP — across the network with more security. MSPs operating in regulated industries are often required to utilize data decryption to remain compliant with HIPAA as an example, or other similar regulatory requirements. 

Data encryption and decryption are used within a larger cybersecurity framework for MSPs. For decryption to be effective, the cipher that is used to scramble and then unscramble the data must also be kept secure. The algorithm used to create the cipher must also be strong enough to create a cipher which is not easily cracked or guessed. 

Data protection relies on comprehensive cybersecurity 

MSPs are an increasingly popular target for cyberthreats. This means it’s critical that MSPs have a comprehensive cybersecurity program in place to protect their customer’s data, as well as their own.  This program may require MSPs and their customers to encrypt data at rest or in transit using strong ciphers and protecting the private key so the information can be decrypted. 

Additionally, bad actors also use encryption and decryption against MSPs and their customers.  A 2019 MSP ransomware attack led to a loss of $150,000 when hackers took the company’s decryption cipher hostage. In this cyberattack, the MSP involved paid a ransom in order to regain access to encrypted data and recover other systems. As this example illustrates, the role of data decryption became an impediment due to inadequate MSP ransomware protection. Data decryption plays an important role, but must be backed up with a holistic security approach. 

Did you know?

Organizations that pay a ransom to recover data following a cyberattack may not gain access to decryption keys. 

-MSPAlliance 

Additional resources

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