We’ve learned the definition of encryption, how healthcare providers use it to protect ePHI, and a bit about the history of encryption. In this last installment of our 4-part series, we’ll take a brief look at how encryption is commonly used today.
People may not think about it often, but encryption is being used in our daily lives to assist in protecting our private information and communications. Most electronic transactions use encryption to ensure a secure transaction. Sensitive electronic data is protected when someone makes an in-store purchase using a credit card or any payment that needs to be processed using an Automated Clearing House (ACH) including debit cards and checks, send an email, uses a cell phone, or even when data is just being stored on a computer drive.
When surfing the internet, oftentimes a lock icon appears next to the URL and the address will begin “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP”. The “S” stands for “Secure”, meaning, the website is using the secure version of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) so that all of the communication between their visitors and the website is being encrypted.
In today’s society, it’s almost impossible to function or do business of any kind without personal data being shared on a computer system. Encryption is still the best tool we have to keep private information secure and make certain our communications are only seen by the intended recipient.