An Explanation of Asymmetric vs. Symmetric Encryption

November 24, 2020

Information security has become a huge consideration for businesses, especially with modern communication networks that can leave loopholes that can be accessed by cybercriminals to cause destructive effects. One of the most popular ways to reinforce your business’s information security is through encryption schemes which are used to tighten communication security. Two of the most popular encryption schemes used are asymmetric encryption and symmetric encryption.

As popular as these two encryption schemes are in reinforcing a business’s overall information security, many people don’t understand the difference between the two. Today, TeknaByte will be detailing what each of these encryption schemes entails, as well as the differences between the two. With this information, it is our hope that you will have a better understanding of these popular encryption schemes and have an easier time deciding which is right for your business. Let’s get started!

What is Asymmetrical Encryption?

Asymmetrical encryption, also known as public key cryptography is a relatively new method of encryption compared to symmetric encryption. Asymmetric encryption uses two keys in order to encrypt a plain text. With this form of encryption, secret keys are exchanged over either a large network or the Internet. These secret keys ensure that those with malicious intent are not able to misuse the keys. It should be noted, however, that anyone with a secret key can decrypt the message, which is why asymmetrical encryption uses two related keys in order to boost security.

With asymmetrical encryption, a message that is encrypted using a public key can only be decrypted using a private key. At the same time, a message that is encrypted using a private key can be decrypted using a public key. Because it is publicly available and can be passed over the Internet, security of the public key is not required. Asymmetric encryption is used mostly in day-to-day communication channels, especially over the Internet.

What is Symmetrical Encryption?

Symmetrical encryption is the simplest type of encryption that involves the use of only one secret key in order to cipher and decipher information. Although symmetrical encryption is an older technique, it is also the best known when it comes to encryption schemes. Symmetrical encryption uses a secret key that can be either a number, string of letters, or a word. This key is blended with the plain text of the message to change the content in a particular way.

Both the sender and the recipient should know the secret key that is used to encrypt and decrypt all the messages. The main disadvantage of using symmetrical encryption is that all parties involved have to exchange the key used in order to encrypt the data before being able to decrypt it.

What are the Differences Between Asymmetrical and Symmetrical Encryption?

Now that you have a basic understanding of what asymmetric and symmetrical encryption is, you may be wondering about the major differences between each type. Put simply, there are four main differences between asymmetrical and symmetrical encryption. For one, symmetric encryption is an older technique while asymmetric encryption is fairly new. Secondly, symmetric encryption uses a single key that needs to be shared among the people who need to receive the message while asymmetric encryption uses a pair of public key and private key in order to both encrypt and decrypt the message when communicating.

Another major difference between asymmetrical and symmetrical encryption is that asymmetrical encryption was originally introduced in order to offer a solution to the problem that is the need to have to share the key in the symmetrical encryption model. This eliminates the need to share the key by using a pair of public-private keys Finally, the last major difference between asymmetrical and symmetrical encryption is that asymmetric encryption tends to take more time than symmetrical encryption.

Which is Best for Your Business?

Now that you know the differences between asymmetrical and symmetrical encryption, you may be wondering which is the best for your business’s information security. When it comes to strengthening information security, most people consider the latest schemes (asymmetrical encryption) to be the best. That being said, it’s always important that you use the encryption algorithm that is right for the task at hand.

Cybersecurity from TeknaByte

After learning how two of the most popular forms of encryption schemes work, it’s time to further strengthen your business’s security with cybersecurity services from TeknaByte. TeknaByte specializes in giving you the best cybersecurity so that you can focus on growing the various other aspects of your business. With the help available 24/7 from our Indianapolis team, we will manage your IT and security effectively so that you can rest easy!

Contact us today by giving us a call at (317) 620-3900 or by contacting us online. We’ll be happy to help you!


TeknaByte is an IT Consulting & Managed IT Services firm in Indianapolis that provides quick, high-quality, and effective managed IT services to businesses everywhere.
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