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As the world becomes more and more digital, security is becoming a bigger concern for individuals and organisations alike. For this reason, it’s important to understand how encryption can help protect your data from theft or unauthorised access. This post will cover what encryption is, why you should use it with SQL Server, and some of the different types of encryption available.

What is encryption and why should I use it with SQL Server?

Encryption is the process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format. This is done for a variety of reasons, such as to protect the data from being accessed by unauthorised individuals or to ensure compliance with regulations.

There are a variety of different types of encryption that you can use with SQL Server. Some of the most common types include certificate-based encryption and password-based encryption. Let’s take a closer look at each of these types.

Certificate-based encryption

Certificate-based encryption is a type of encryption that uses certificates to protect data. Certificates are created by a Certificate Authority (CA), and they contain information about the holder of the certificate, as well as the public key that is associated with the certificate.

The data is encrypted using the public key that is contained in the certificate, which can be done either manually or automatically. The encrypted data can then be stored in a SQL Server table, or it can be stored in an Azure Key Vault.

Password-based encryption

Password-based encryption is another type of encryption that you can use with SQL Server. With password-based encryption, the data is encrypted using a key that is generated from a user’s Windows credentials. This process makes it practically impossible for an individual to decrypt the data without knowing the correct credentials.

The main benefit of using password-based encryption is that it requires very little effort on your end – all you need to do is configure an instance of SQL Server to use this type of encryption, and then set up login credentials so that users can access secure data.

How to enable different types of encryption on your SQL Server

There are a few different ways to enable encryption on your server. You can use Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), SQL Server Authentication, or Windows Authentication. Each of these methods is a little different, so let’s take a look at each of them to find out how they work.

Transparent Data Encryption

With Transparent Data Encryption, you can set up column-level encryption by right-clicking the table that you want to encrypt and then clicking ‘Encrypt Columns’. You can also encrypt entire databases by right-clicking the database and clicking ‘Encrypt Database’.

SQL Server Authentication

When you use SQL Server authentication, users are authenticated by Windows Authentication. This allows your server to automatically authenticate users who log in with their Windows credentials, without needing to create a separate user account for each user that connects to the server.

Windows Authentication

When you use Windows authentication, users are authenticated by accessing a Windows domain. This means that your SQL Server can authenticate and authorise users who log in to the server with their Windows credentials without needing to create a separate user account for each user that connects to the server.

For more information about the security features available with Microsoft SQL, contact the team at Catalyst2 today.