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An Introduction to Database Encryption

Database encryption is a critical security measure that protects sensitive data from unauthorised access or tampering. In this article, we will introduce database encryption, with a brief overview of the various types of encryption, its benefits, and some best practices for implementing it in your databases.

Several types of encryption can be used to protect data in a database. The most common types are symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption.

Symmetric encryption is a type of encryption in which the same key is used for encryption and decryption. This technique is fast and efficient, but it also means that the key must be kept secret and secure, as anyone with access to it can decrypt the data. Examples of symmetric encryption algorithms include AES and Blowfish.

Asymmetric encryption, also known as public-key encryption, uses a pair of keys for encryption and decryption. One key, the public key, is used for encryption, and the private key is used for decryption. This allows secure communication without the need to exchange secret keys. Examples of asymmetric encryption include RSA and Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC).

In addition to these types of encryption, there are several ways to apply encryption to a database. A common method is to encrypt the entire database, in a process called whole database encryption. Using this method, we ensure that all data in the database is protected, but it can also significantly impact performance.

Another option is to encrypt specific columns or fields within the database, known as column-level encryption. The column-level encryption allows you to selectively encrypt only the most sensitive data while leaving less sensitive data unencrypted. It can be a more practical option for large databases, allowing you to balance security and performance.

Database encryption protects sensitive data from unauthorised access or tampering. It is vital in a data breach, as encrypted data is only helpful to an attacker with the proper decryption key. Database encryption can also comply with regulations and industry standards that require the protection of sensitive data.

Hands-on database Encryption

For example, to implement database encryption in a Java application using MySQL, you will need a MySQL connector that supports encrypted connections. The MySQL Connector/J driver provides support for encrypted connections using SSL or TLS.

To establish an encrypted connection to a MySQL database using the MySQL Connector/J driver, you need to do the following:

  1. Obtain the necessary SSL/TLS certificates and install them on the server.
  2. Configure the MySQL server to use SSL/TLS by adding the following lines to the my.cnf file:
  3. In your Java application, create a new instance of the com.mysql.cj.jdbc.MysqlXADataSource class and set the following properties:
    serverName: the hostname or IP address of the MySQL server
    portNumber: the port number of the MySQL server
    user: the username to use for the connection
    password: the password for the user
    serverSslCert: the path to the server SSL certificate
    clientSslCert: the path to the client SSL certificate
    clientSslKey: the path to the client SSL key
  4. Use the MysqlXADataSource object to create a new javax.sql.XAConnection object, which represents an encrypted connection to the MySQL database.
    Here is an example of how this might look in code:

Once you have established an encrypted connection to the MySQL database, you can use standard JDBC API calls to execute queries and modify the data in the database.

It is important to note that encrypting the connection to the database does not automatically encrypt the data in the database. To encrypt the information in your database, you will need to use database-level encryption, such as the ENCRYPT function in MySQL to encrypt the data.

Vaultree’s SDK data encryption

Vaultree’s SDK simplifies the process of implementing database encryption by providing a user-friendly GUI and CLI tool that allows you to encrypt your data quickly and easily. This process can be done at the database, table, or column level, giving you complete control over which information is protected.

One of the key benefits of using Vaultree’s encryption technology is the use of Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) and Enhanced Searchable Symmetric Encryption (ESSE). These breakthroughs in encryption technology allow you to process fully encrypted data at near plaintext speeds without the need to decrypt the data first. You can perform searches and computations on your encrypted data without compromising security.

In addition to the convenience and flexibility of the encryption tools, Vaultree also provides enhanced security for your data. By encrypting data-in-use, Vaultree ensures that your data is protected at all times, even when accessed or processed. Additionally, you always maintain control of your encryption keys, ensuring that only you can access and decrypt your data.

Vaultree’s SDK offers a simple and secure solution for implementing database encryption, allowing you to protect your sensitive data from unauthorised access and tampering.

If you are interested in learning more about Vaultree’s SDK and how it can help you protect your data through encryption, we invite you to request a free demo. Our team will be happy to walk you through the features and capabilities of the SDK and answer any questions you may have.

About Vaultree

Vaultree has developed the world’s first Fully Functional Data-in-Use Encryption solution that solves the industry’s fundamental security issue: persistent data encryption, even in the event of a leak. Vaultree enables enterprises, including those in the financial services and healthcare / pharmaceutical sectors, to mitigate the great financial, cyber, legal, and business risk of a data breach in plain text. With Vaultree, organisations process, search, and compute ubiquitous data at scale, without ever having to surrender encryption keys or decrypt server-side. If a leak occurs, Vaultree’s data-in-use encryption persists, rendering the data unusable to bad actors. Integrating Vaultree into existing database technologies is seamless, requiring no technology or platform changes. Vaultree is a privately held company based in Ireland and the U.S.

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Vaultree’s Encryption-in-use enables businesses of all sizes to process (search and compute) fully end-to-end encrypted data without the need to decrypt.

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