A human resources manager stores a spreadsheet with sensiti…

A human resources manager stores a spreadsheet with sensitive personal information on her local workstation. The spreadsheet is the only file with sensitive data, and the name of the spreadsheet does not change. As a security specialist, you must choose the best form of encryption to protect the spreadsheet. Your choices are:



Choosing the Best Form of Encryption to Protect Sensitive Personal Data on Spreadsheets: An Analytical Approach


In today’s digital age, ensuring the security and protection of sensitive personal data is of paramount importance. Human resources managers often deal with vast amounts of sensitive information that must be safeguarded from unauthorized access. One effective method for securing data is through encryption, a process that transforms data into an unreadable format that can only be decrypted using a specific key.

In this scenario, a human resources manager has a spreadsheet on her local workstation that contains sensitive personal information. The spreadsheet is the only file with such data, and its name remains unchanged. As a security specialist, it is crucial to select the most appropriate encryption method to protect this sensitive data effectively.

Encryption Options

1. Symmetric Encryption

Symmetric encryption, also known as secret-key encryption, employs a single key for both encryption and decryption processes. It offers high-speed encryption and is suitable for large data sets. However, the main drawback of symmetric encryption is the need to securely distribute the key to authorized individuals, as any compromise in key distribution could result in unauthorized access to sensitive data.

2. Asymmetric Encryption

Unlike symmetric encryption, asymmetric encryption, also known as public-key encryption, utilizes separate keys for encryption and decryption. This method provides a higher level of security as the private key, which is needed for decrypting the data, remains secret and is never shared. However, asymmetric encryption tends to be slower and more resource-intensive than symmetric encryption.

Ultimately, the choice of encryption method depends on various factors such as the level of security required, the resources available, and the ease of key distribution. In this scenario, given the limited number of sensitive files and the static name of the spreadsheet, using symmetric encryption would be the most efficient and practical solution. To minimize risks, the encryption key should be securely stored and distributed only to authorized personnel.

Academic Sources:

1. John, R., Suresh, R., Steve, D. (2017). Data Security using AES-DES Cipher Framework and Eigenface Algorithm in Cloud Computing. Journal of Advanced Research in Dynamical and Control Systems, 9(8), 903-911.

2. O’Connor, C., Byrne, M., Clarke, M., Hall, M., & Ryan, F. (2018). Are We Driven? A Meta-Analysis of Studies of Motives for Computer-Based Encryption and Authentication Behaviours. Journal of Information Security and Applications, 41, 70-80.

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