What Type of Encryption Is Typically Used for Data at Rest?


Heather Bennett

What Type of Encryption Is Typically Used for Data at Rest?

When it comes to securing data, encryption plays a vital role in ensuring its confidentiality and integrity. Encryption is the process of converting information into a secret code to prevent unauthorized access. In the context of data at rest, which refers to data that is stored on physical or virtual media, there are several types of encryption commonly used.

Symmetric Encryption

Symmetric encryption is a type of encryption where the same key is used for both encrypting and decrypting the data. It is also known as secret key or shared key encryption. This method is relatively fast and efficient, making it ideal for encrypting large amounts of data at rest.

One popular algorithm used in symmetric encryption is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES provides strong security and has become the de facto standard for symmetric encryption. It supports key sizes of 128, 192, and 256 bits.

Asymmetric Encryption

Asymmetric encryption, also known as public-key encryption, uses two different keys – a public key for encrypting the data and a private key for decrypting it. The public key can be freely distributed, while the private key must be kept secret.

This type of encryption provides enhanced security compared to symmetric encryption because even if someone gains access to the public key, they cannot decrypt the data without the corresponding private key.

An example of an asymmetric encryption algorithm is RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman), which is widely used for secure communication and digital signatures.

Hash Functions

Hash functions are not technically a form of encryption but play an essential role in securing data at rest. A hash function takes an input (such as a file or message) and produces a fixed-size string of characters, which is typically a unique representation of the input.

Hash functions are commonly used to verify the integrity of data at rest. By comparing the hash value of the stored data with the calculated hash value, you can determine if the data has been tampered with or modified.


In summary, there are various types of encryption used for securing data at rest. Symmetric encryption is efficient and suitable for encrypting large amounts of data.

Asymmetric encryption provides enhanced security by using separate keys for encryption and decryption. Hash functions play a crucial role in verifying the integrity of data. By understanding these different types of encryption, you can make informed decisions to protect your data effectively.

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