Point-to-Point Encryption

What Does Point-to-Point Encryption Mean?

Point-to-point encryption (P2PE) is a process of securely encrypting a signal or transacted data through a designated “tunnel.” This is most often applied to credit card information encrypted from the merchant point-of-sale (POS) entry to the final credit card processing point, often maintained by a third party. The principle of P2PE can protect sensitive data in many different ways.


Techopedia Explains Point-to-Point Encryption

In general, P2PE has to be durable enough to actually protect data. Many systems use methods like public key encryption and hashing to make sensitive data in use opaque to hackers and thieves. The need for better security is becoming a major theme in business IT.

Within P2PE, a common retailer standard called Payment Card Industry P2PE (PCI P2PE) has caused a controversy after some notable data breaches from big retailer systems. It seems that the compliance measurements were not adequate enough to actually protect data, although in a data breach, it makes a difference whether the data were stolen in the “tunnel” or when it was at rest, stored for future use in business networks.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

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.