Database Encryption and Decryption

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What Does Database Encryption and Decryption Mean?

Database encryption is the process of converting data, within a database, in plain text format into a meaningless cipher text by means of a suitable algorithm.


Database decryption is converting the meaningless cipher text into the original information using keys generated by the encryption algorithms.

Database encryption can be provided at the file or column level.

Techopedia Explains Database Encryption and Decryption

Encryption of a database is costly and requires more storage space than the original data. The steps in encrypting a database are:

  1. Determine the criticality of the need for encryption
  2. Determine what data needs to be encrypted
  3. Determine which algorithms best suit the encryption standard
  4. Determine how the keys will be managed

Numerous algorithms are used for encryption. These algorithms generate keys related to the encrypted data. These keys set a link between the encryption and decryption procedures. The encrypted data can be decrypted only by using these keys.

Different databases, such as SQL, Oracle, Access and DB2, have unique encryption and decryption methods.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.