Cloud computing allows an organization to use IT services delivered via the internet instead of maintaining your own physical servers. Popular cloud computing services include Amazon Web Services (AWS) Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. As with any IT service, however, you’ll need to assure the best data security protocols.

Cloud computing services are subject to cyber-attacks and data breaches in the same ways that other IT assets are. An example of a breach of cloud security is spear-phishing, where a cybercriminal targets a specific individual via an email phishing scam. Once the targeted individual clicks the link in the phishing email, they expose themselves and their company to a data breach, sometimes affecting millions of individual users.

One way of improving cybersecurity for your cloud services is to use cloud cryptography.

Defining Cloud Cryptography

Cryptography in cloud computing is the encryption of data stored in a cloud service. Encryption is the process of altering data to look like something else until an authorized user logs in and views the “plaintext” (that is, true) version of the data. Cryptographic keys are used to encrypt plaintext into a random string of characters known as ciphertext.

Cloud encryption is wise because it secures your data after the information leaves your corporate IT structure. This means that no matter where it travels within your cloud computing services, the data remains secure. Encryption helps to secure the data itself rather than the places it is stored, which offers an improved level of cybersecurity for your organization.

How Does Cloud Cryptography Work?

There are two primary types of cloud cryptography that your organization should include in your cybersecurity plans: data-in-transit and data-at-rest.


Data-in-transit is data that is moving between endpoints. A common form of data-in-transit cloud encryption is one you can see when using an internet browser: the HTTPS and HTTP protocols that secure the information channel you use when visiting different sites across the web. They do this with an SSL, or “a secure socket layer,” which is a layer of encryption around the secure channel.

When data is sent between your endpoint and the endpoint for the website you are visiting, the SSL within the HTTP or HTTPS encrypts your data and the website’s data so that if your channel is hacked in the process, the cybercriminal would only see encrypted data.


Data-at-rest is sensitive data you store in corporate IT structures such as servers, disks, or cloud storage services. Encrypting data while it is stored allows you to enforce access control by only giving decryption credentials to those employees with authorization. Anyone else trying to access your data-at-rest will see encrypted information rather than plaintext.

Symmetric Cryptographic Algorithm

This type of encryption algorithm makes it possible for both data-at-rest and data-in-transit to be accessed by authorized users without manual encryption or decryption. The algorithm encrypts and decrypts the sensitive information via automatic processes once credentials are provided for authentication.

Although symmetric cryptographic algorithms are usually automated, they do still require key management. Your organization may choose to employ multiple cryptographic key types or different types of encryption keys depending on the cloud service provider you use. If you use multiple cloud service providers or operate within different cloud environments, then your key management should help account for the various encryption keys within your organization.

Assure Secure Cloud Computing with ZenGRC

ZenGRC from Reciprocity gives your security and compliance teams a streamlined, integrated dashboard experience for cybersecurity risk management. You can monitor known risks and receive alerts for developing attack vectors.

ZenGRC’s cybersecurity experts can help you assure the strongest level of protection for your sensitive information, whether you have data encryption management you’re mitigating or you want to create fresh cryptographic protocols for improved information security.

You can learn more about ZenGRC when you request a demo today.