Gartner Research

Decision Point for Encryption

Published: 10 July 2012

ID: G00235636

Analyst(s): Daniel Blum, Ramon Krikken


This encryption Decision Point helps evaluate the points and layers at which organizations can deploy encryption in order to achieve information confidentiality objectives for specific use cases. General decisions cover encryption for data at rest and in motion, whereas specific decisions cover encryption for storage, applications and databases, endpoints, and email and communications.

Table Of Contents

Decision Point

Decision Context

  • Architectural Context
  • Related Decisions

Evaluation Criteria

  • Requirements and Constraints
  • Principles


  • General Encryption Approaches
    • Encrypt an Entire Class of Assets or Data Elements
    • Encrypt Only Specific Assets or Data Elements
  • General Data-at-Rest Encryption
    • Infrastructure-Level Encryption
    • Application-Level Encryption
    • Application-Level Persistent Data Encryption
  • Data-at-Rest Encryption for Data Center Backup Storage
    • Self-Encrypting Drive or Array/Library Encryption
    • Fabric-Based Encryption
    • Backup Software Encryption
    • Primary Storage Encryption
  • Data-at-Rest Encryption for Data Center Storage
    • Self-Encrypting Drive or SAN/NAS Encryption
    • Host Storage Controller or Fabric-Based Encryption
    • Software Disk Encryption
    • General File Encryption
    • Application-Specific File Encryption
  • Data-at-Rest Encryption for Applications and Databases
    • Storage Encryption
    • Transparent Database Encryption
    • Database Encryption
    • Application-Level Encryption
  • Data-at-Rest Encryption for Endpoints and User-Removable Media
    • Self-Encrypting Media
    • Software Media Encryption
    • Transparent File Encryption
    • Interactive File Encryption
    • Application Encryption
  • General Data-in-Motion Encryption
    • Point-to-Point or Link Encryption
    • Perimeter-to-Perimeter Encryption
    • Perimeter-to-End Encryption
    • End-to-End Encryption
    • Network- or Infrastructure-Level Encryption
    • Transport- or Application-Level Encryption
    • Message- or Data-Level Encryption
  • Data-in-Motion Encryption for Email and Communications
    • Network Encryption
    • Messaging Transport Encryption
    • Gateway With Encrypted Storage and Retrieval
    • Gateway With Message Encryption
    • End-to-End Transport Encryption
    • End-to-End Message Encryption

Future Developments

  • Encryption Architecture
  • Encryption Key Management
  • Encryption for Virtualization and the Cloud

Decision Tool

  • Evaluate Protective Mechanisms
  • Evaluate Use Cases
  • Evaluate Encryption Scope
  • Identify Solutions and Conflicts
  • Evaluate Data-at-Rest Encryption Alternatives
    • General Data-at-Rest Encryption
    • Application and Database Encryption
    • Data Center Storage Encryption
    • Data Center Backup Encryption
    • User Endpoint and Removable User Media Encryption
  • Evaluate Data-in-Motion Encryption Alternatives
    • General Data-in-Motion Encryption
    • Messaging and Communication Encryption
  • Evaluate Compensating Controls
  • Example of How to Use This Tool
    • Evaluate Use Cases
    • Evaluate Encryption Scope
    • Evaluate Alternatives and Identify Conflicts

Recommended Reading

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