Encryption is a security measure that encodes sensitive information into an indecipherable text to protect that information from outside parties.
A critical part of a robust security protocol, encryption is the process of turning plain text information into what’s called a “ciphertext,” or a seemingly random arrangement of letters, numbers, and characters. This ciphertext protects the data from being easily accessed and read, and it requires a cryptographic key to unlock. When unlocked, the ciphertext returns to its plain text version.
In the ecommerce landscape, encryption can be an important part of keeping personal data — such as consumers’ addresses, phone numbers, and card information — secure. Some ecommerce systems encrypt personal information when a consumer creates an account and saves their information in the system. Others encrypt data during transactions to prevent information from leaking into the wrong hands.
As online shopping has increased dramatically, so, too, have consumers’ expectations for security and privacy. Encryption can be one part of a business’s security protocol that prevents costly fraud and builds consumer trust.