Data delivery services

File transfer services are a backbone of the Internet. File transfer services drives everything a user does, from sending an email to uploading a file to storing data on a cloud. There are many different kinds of data delivery methods — FTP, SFTP, PGP, etc. — but one thing many of them rely on are encryption codes.

In principle, encryption (and decryption) is very simple. Encryption involves transcribing readable data, known as “plaintext,” into an illegible language or code known as “ciphertext” (in layman’s terms, it’s simply gibberish) that is later translated back, or decrypted, by authorized users. Decryption requires a “key”; that is, a program or parameter that can successfully translate ciphertext back to plaintext. Encryption codes usually uses mathematical algorithms to develop the ciphertext; keys provide in essence the playbook to understand the algorithms in order to reverse their results.

There are two main kinds of keys that reflect two main kinds of encryption. Private and public keys are used for symmetric and asymmetric encryptions, respectively. Symmetric encryption was the first and is still the best-known type of encryption. Under symmetric encryption, a “private” or “secret” key is used by both the sender and receiver. As the name suggests, the keys are identical so they must only be known by the sender and receiver in order for it to work. The advantage of private key encryption is that because it’s only one key, encryption and decryption is relatively straightforward. The main problem with symmetric encryption, however, is that both parties must have access to the key. If one party forgets the key, then information cannot be transferred. In addition, sending private key information to a party can cause security concerns in itself.

On the other hand, public key encryption is used for asymmetric programs. A public key can technically be used by any user. However, only the receiver has the decryption key needed to translate the ciphertext back to plaintext. Asymmetric encryption is often compared to a mailbox. That is, anyone can deposit mail into a mailbox via a mailslot but only the owner of the mailbox can open it to retrieve the messages. The advantage of public key encryption is that it makes sending data much more accessible as opposed to having a private key. However, the main disadvantage is that if the public key is compromised, it can make it much easier for unwanted users to access the data.

Both encryption codes are extensively used for file transfer services. Without it, digital data would be much more vulnerable to hackers. Data delivery services use encryption to secure data in the most fundamental level. It is also quite useful for data loss prevention solutions. Overall, encryption makes easy file transfer possible. Find out more here.