Ask Leo: Does keeping an unencrypted copy of encrypted data make sense?


By Leo Notenboom

In a previous newsletter, someone was explaining how they lost data because they encrypted it and they couldn’t decrypt it. You said it is always a good idea to keep an unencrypted copy of your data to prevent you from losing it. Doesn’t doing this completely defeat the purpose of encrypting your data in the first place?

Not at all.

In fact, as that reader discovered, it’s actually an important part of keeping your data secure – both from prying eyes and from failure.

The “trick”, if you want to call it that, is in how you do it.

Good encryption can’t be cracked

Any sufficiently good encryption (with a sufficiently strong password or encryption key) is impractical to crack. While it might be theoretically possible to mount an attack, the practical reality is that it would take longer to crack than the data would have value.

What that means is that without the password, the data cannot be recovered.

Lose the password, lose your encrypted data – it’s as simple as that.

But we know the solution to data loss and it’s called “backing up”.

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This post is excerpted with Leo’s permission from his blog.

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