How Encryption Can Make Data Recovery Harder

encryption of data

Data encryption is gaining popularity with the increased need to keep data private. Encrypting data enhances security, and serves as an additional layer of privacy. But, with this increased layer of security and privacy, does it affect data recovery in the case of data loss? Well, read on to understand why encryption makes data recovery difficult and sometimes impossible.

Although data encryption comes with many benefits, there is a chance that you will not be able to re access your data. Today it is not uncommon to hear someone say ‘I forgot my password’ and thanks to the password reset features, people can reset their password and access whatever account they want. But when it comes to encryption, the password recovery feature does not exist.

The Encryption Process 

When you encrypt files, the data is scrambled into gibberish using software, or hardware if you have SEDs. The only way to make the data readable again is to convert the data into a readable form using a decryption key; otherwise, the data is lost forever, and data recovery is almost impossible most of the time. Note that password protection is different – criminals can crack a password – but not a decryption key.

Types of Encryption

There are two types of encryption – symmetric and asymmetric encryption. The symmetric encryption requires the same passcode when encrypting and decrypting data. This encryption method poses a risk, as sometimes many people will hold the passkey.

The asymmetric encryption is different from symmetric encryption in that it has different keys for encryption and decryption referred to as private and public keys. You can only use the private key to decrypt data that you have encrypted. For example, when sending somebody encrypted data, you will use their public key for encryption, and then the receiver will use a private passcode to decrypt the data.

How Does Encryption Affect Data Recovery?

Since there are many ways in which data loss can occur, for instance, a lost encryption key or physical failure, it is important to use encryption with a contingency plan for data recovery.

We encrypt sensitive data to avoid unauthorised access. Therefore, if data recovery from an encrypted drive were easy, there would be no need for encryption. Hence if you want your sensitive data to be secure, you have to ensure that the data is protected from being recovered by you as well. You need to decide what is more important for you between data security and data recovery.

Considering how hard it is to recover data from an encrypted drive (with no encryption code), it is vital to make the right decision. Do you have to encrypt your files? If you are a student or you have a home PC, you need not encrypt your data. But if data encryption is a must, ensure that you store the encryption key separate from the computer. This way, when data is recovered from your drive, it will be easy to decrypt. Otherwise, without a decryption key, consider your data lost!

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