We hear a lot about encryption and how it is an important tool to keep our data safe. Call centers who process credit cards adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to safeguard sensitive cardholder information, and medical call centers are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect patients’ electronic protected health information (ePHI). Both call center industries use encryption as a way to protect confidential information, but what exactly is encryption and how does it help prevent data breaches, fraud, and identity theft?
Encryption is based on the science of cryptology and has long been used by individual people, the military, and government bodies to communicate classified information. Cryptology focuses on cryptography, or the study of secret writing, and cryptanalysis, or deciphering coded messages without the key.
Simply stated, encryption is a process used to scramble information. Only those who have the key to decrypt the information can read the correct message. For example, as a child in school you may have passed notes in class written in code so only your friends could read them. If a note was intercepted, they wouldn’t be able to read the message.