Finally, we can use the term ‘data in use’ to refer to that data which is being used in an in-memory state.Google Chrome, for example, loads up websites in-memory that it thinks you might like to look at next so that it operates more quickly. Government employees might keep classified web pages in-memory while browsing. Sensitive ‘data in use’ needs to be protected by application-level encryption and exposed on a need to know basis, encrypted as soon as possible and decrypted only when necessary. Such a selective approach to encryption can only be performed at the application level.
Encryption and key management
Public sector organisations at any level need to start classifying their data rather than their systems for different levels of protection. By doing this, they can protect the public’s personal data and their own reputations as well as avoiding the significant fines imposed for data breaches. Data loss or theft, either through human error or malicious intent, whether internal or external, are both costly and dangerous.
We must remember, however, that while encryption should be the bedrock of any data security policy, it is only effective if encryption keys are adequately protected. It is vital that the public sector employs a high-grade key management solution that adheres to the Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP). Only then can the government fulfil its duty of protecting sensitive information.
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