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The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) came into force on January 1st 2020 and requires impacted organizations to take various compliance measures to avoid potentially large fines.One of the key steps that organizations can take to manage the associated risks is to implement an holistic approach to encryption: as Anand Kashyap, CTO and co-founder at Fortanix explains...

“According to the CCPA, ‘any consumer whose nonencrypted or nonredacted personal information’ is exposed is entitled to recover damages from $100 to $750 per incident or actual damages, whichever is greater. This means that a data breach involving a million consumers, of which there have been many, could cost hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties per breach. However, if the data involved in the breach is encrypted, then there is no penalty since the law only applies to ‘nonencrypted’ data.

“The single best step a business could take to make sure they are not violating CCPA is to protect all personally identifiable data (PII) of their customers using encryption while the data is stored, while the data is transmitted, and while it is in use by applications.

"First, protecting the keys to all the data through a hardware security module and enterprise key management system is essential. Second, many people overlook encrypting data while in use by applications, which is also referred to as Runtime Encryption or Confidential Computing is a security gap missed by many organizations. Without Runtime Encryption, cybercriminals could gain access to the applications while running and use a common technique called memory scrapping to gather PII from the applications even if that same data is protected while stored and in transit. This is even more critical for applications that handle data in the public cloud, where it is easy to inadvertently expose data, resulting in a breach.”

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