Encryption is primarily used to safeguard the contents of a message so that only the intended recipient can read it. This is done by replacing the contents with unrecognizable data, which can only be understood by the intended recipient. This is how encryption became a method to protect data from those who might want to steal it.
Encryption can be used in two situations.
- Encryption in Transit
- Encryption at Rest (EAR)
Encryption in Transit
This refers to the data that is encrypted when it is in transit — including from your browser to the web server and other third parties via integrations. Encrypting data in transit protects your data from man-in-the-middle-attacks.
Encryption at Rest
This refers to the data that is encrypted when it is stored (not moving) — either on a disc, in a database, or some other form of media. In addition to the encryption of data during transit, encryption of data when it is stored in the servers provides an even higher level of security. EAR protects against any possible data leak due to server compromise or unauthorized access.
Encryption is done at the application layer using the AES-256 algorithm, which is a symmetric encryption algorithm and uses 128-bit blocks and 256-bit keys. The key used to convert the data from plain text to cipher text is called Data Encryption Key (DEK). The DEK is further encrypted using the KEK (Key Encryption Key), providing yet another layer of security. The keys are generated and maintained by our in-house Key Management Service (KMS).
What data do we encrypt in Zoho Survey?
Zoho Survey encrypts the following data at rest:
- Custom fields (in all the open-ended questions) that may possibly contain any PII (Personally Identifiable Info) or other sensitive information
- Custom variables in Custom Field Encryption
- Any files the respondents have uploaded
- Email addresses provided in the Share feature
In addition to the application-layer encryption, full-disk encryption is available in our India (IN), Australia (AU), and Japan (JP) data centers.