17 Oct 2023 4 min read

Cryptographic Agility (Crypto-Agility)

Critical Controls For An Adaptive Cybersecurity Posture

The Need To Adapt to Evolving Cybersecurity Threats

Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, leaders in cybersecurity have acknowledged the importance of adaptability when confronted with emerging and evolving threats to cryptography. Recognizing that the algorithms safeguarding our crucial data eventually succumb to vulnerabilities arising from increased computing power, novel decryption capabilities like those involving the emerging field of quantum computing, and the growing expertise of malicious actors, the concept of cryptographic agility emerged as a solution to this constant challenge.

Cryptographic Agility Explained

Understanding Cryptography and Cryptographic Agility

Cryptography, in the simplest terms, is the science of secret writing. It’s a method used to protect information by transforming it into an unreadable format, known as encryption, which can only be made readable again, or decrypted, with the right key.

Cryptographic Agility, on the other hand, is an organization’s ability to swiftly change out cryptographic algorithms, enable layering of different algorithms to remove single points of failure, keys, and protocols when needed. Just as a chameleon adjusts its color to match its environment, cryptographic agility allows a system to adapt its encryption methods in response to system performance dynamics, heightened security requirements, advancements in technology or discovery of vulnerabilities, keeping its protected information one step ahead of threats.

How Does Cryptographic Agility Work

Imagine the following scenario: Security Leader A’s organization relies on an encryption algorithm that has long been considered secure. Suddenly, quantum computing makes a significant breakthrough, rendering their existing encryption methods vulnerable. Without cryptographic agility, Security Leader A and their team must scramble to find a replacement algorithm and engage in pointwise replacement throughout their systems. This process takes time, during which their organization’s sensitive data is at risk. The break in the encryption algorithm leaves the door open for hackers to exploit the security gap, potentially resulting in significant data breaches and financial losses.

Contrast this with Security Leader B, who implemented cryptographic agility in their organization. Just like Security Leader A, they also learn about the quantum computing breakthrough and the vulnerability of their current encryption schemes. However, Security Leader B is not alarmed. Using orchestrated cryptographic agility, Security Leader B has long been layering different cryptographic algorithms to eliminate single points of failure with encryption algorithms. The organization’s data is still has a layer of defense and will not be vulnerable to decryption like data that has been protected with a single hardcoded algorithm. In addition, their systems include controls that enable cryptographic agility, enabling them to swiftly substitute the vulnerable algorithm with a sturdier one. The transition happens seamlessly, with no system downtime or risk of exposure. In this scenario, cryptographic agility has allowed Security Leader B’s organization to stay one step ahead of the threat, demonstrating the enormous advantage of an adaptive cybersecurity posture.

The Benefits of Cryptographic Agility For Business

Cryptographic agility not only protects critical business and customer data when algorithms fail, but also empowers businesses to bolster their security posture and embrace a proactive stance against cyber threats. It facilitates a highly adaptable and streamlined security strategy that minimizes downtime and delivers cost savings through the prevention of data breaches.

How QuProtect Enables Cryptographic Agility

While cryptographic agility is often emphasized, our solution, QuProtect, is the first and only available solution on the market empowering security leaders with comprehensive controls to effortlessly manage cryptography and execute cryptographic agility without any disruptions.

Through the QuProtect administrative console, control is placed directly in the hands of administrators, simplifying the process of executing cryptographic agility and empowering organizations to stay one step ahead of emerging quantum threats.

Defining Cryptography

Administrators can effortlessly select NIST standardized and recommended post-quantum algorithms, the layering of static and ephemeral key exchange methods to eliminate single points of failure in encryption, the length of cryptographic keys, and key rotation frequencies to protect communications between endpoints in their network.

QuProtect empowers administrators with expert recommendations and insightful guidance to confidently select the most optimal cryptography options. Our solution aligns with NIST best practices, ensuring data protection that precisely caters to your unique use case. Rest assured, we’ve got you covered when it comes to making informed choices about safeguarding your valuable data.

Changing Cryptography

When it’s time to execute cryptographic agility, administrators can effortlessly swap out algorithms, key lengths, and/or key rotation frequencies with just a few clicks. The updated protection preferences are instantly applied in their network, ensuring uninterrupted operations and top-notch security. It is truly that simple.

Take control over your data security and empower your organization with QuProtect today.

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