What importance does 256 bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) holds in cloud backups?

In the highly competitive world of cloud based backups, many vendors are claiming that their services are being offered with high encryption. However, as per the present prevailing trend only those vendors whose services have 256 bit Advanced Encryption Standard are considered to be reliable and trusted. So, what exactly is 256 bit AES encryption and how is important to businesses today. In order to get to the technicality basics, let’s first go into the history of encryption.

Advanced Encryption Standard or AES is a symmetric block cipher used by the US government to protect highly sensitive information. AES is implemented on hardware and software used throughout the world to encrypt sensitive data.

The origin of AES goes way back to 1997 when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it needed a successor to the aging Data Encryption Standard (DES) which became too vulnerable to brute-force attacks. NOTE-A brute force attack is a trial-and-error method used to obtain information such as a user password or personal identification number (PIN). This attack is carried out through automated software.

NIST wanted the new algorithm to be unclassified and hold a potential to protect sensitive government info well into the 20th century. The institute mentioned in its guidelines that the algorithm should be easy to implement on hardware and software and should offer good defenses against various attack techniques.

After considering over 15 algorithms, NIST selected AES which was founded by Belgian based creators Daemen and Rijmen in October 2000 to be the future encryption standard. In year 2002, the standard became a federal government standard.

In June 2003, the U.S. government announced that AES could be used to protect classified information, and can be used in private sector as well. AES is more secure than its predecessors DES and 3DES, as it uses longer key lengths for decryption. Since, the algorithm’s encryption ability is faster than DES and 3DES; it proves ideal for software applications, firmware and hardware that require either low latency or high throughput, such as firewalls and routers.

How does AES work?

Advanced Encryption Standard consist three block ciphers, AES-128, AES-192 and AES -256. So, each cipher encrypts and decrypts data in blocks of 128 bits using cryptographic keys of 128-, 192- and 256- bits, respectively. Symmetric or secret-key ciphers use the same key for encrypting and decrypting, so both the sender and the receiver must know and use the same secret key. All key lengths are deemed sufficient to protect classified info up to the secret level with top secret info requiring either 192- or 256- bit key lengths. There are 10 rounds for 128-bit keys, 12 rounds for 192-bit keys, and 14 rounds for 256-bit keys — a round consists of several processing steps that include substitution, transposition and mixing of the input plaintext and transform it into the final output of ciphertext.

How a 256 bit encryption stands out?

The 256-bit is generally preferred over a 128-bit encryption because it means that there are 288 [2 to the power of 88] more combinations and a code that ranges in the trillions. Obviously all this arrangement is to keep hackers at bay.

The 256 bit AES works on Substitution Permutation Network. It can be integrated in the software and the hardware and unlike DES; it does not use the Feistel Network.

How secure is AES 256 bit encryption?

Till date, they are very few attacks reported against 256 AES implementation. Most of them were side channel attacks (means attack was done on the implementation of the cipher on the system and not on the underlying cipher itself). It is believed that the design and strength of the key length protects the AES algorithm and a 256-bit key length is considered to be ideal for top-secret information.

When it comes to data security no one wants to compromise and 256 AES is one of the most secure methods of data encryption available in the market. So, all those who are planning to go for cloud backup services can choose a provider who provides a 256-bit AES transmission of data in flight and rest.

StoneFly, Inc. is one such company which offers cloud backup services with AES 256 volume encryption. StoneFly Cloud Backup Connect is an easy and affordable way to begin storing your valuable server and workstation backups in the cloud. To reap the maximum benefit from your backups, data should be stored in more than one location, requiring a remote host to be available.

StoneFly Cloud Backup Connect empowers organizations to fully utilize their existing backup software or existing backup appliance’s disaster recovery features, enabling organizations large and small to implement offsite backup inexpensively.

Cloud Backup Connect is compatible with all leading enterprise backup softwares or backup appliances like Symantec Backup Exec, Acronis, Commvault, Veeam, Novastor, Unitrends etc.

StoneFly provides a backup connector to your choice of private, hybrid or public cloud. Implement a quick and simple disaster recovery plan while storing your backups off-site in Microsoft Azure, VMware vCloud, VMware vCloud Air, StoneFly Cloud Business Center, or your remote private or hybrid cloud.

To know more call 510.265.1616 or click on StoneFly Cloud Backup Connect web page.


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