data splitting definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Protect information like a pro: A guide for enterprise CIOs

Data splitting is an approach to protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access by encrypting the data and storing different portions of a file on different servers.

When split data is accessed, the parts are retrieved, combined and decrypted. An unauthorized person would need to know the locations of the servers containing the parts, be able to get access to each server, know what data to combine, and how to decrypt it.

Data splitting can be made even more effective by periodically retrieving and recombining the parts, and then splitting the data in a different way among different servers, and using a different encryption key. Thus, even if a hacker makes progress towards obtaining split data, chances are that the data will have been reorganized before the hacker manages to obtain all the necessary components. By rearranging the data often enough, a network administrator can stay ahead of even the most adept hacker.

Compare file splitting.

This was first published in May 2007

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