Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Encryption in the Cloud: Choosing the Right Approach

Asymmetric and symmetric encryptions are the modes of encryption typically used in cryptography. There is a single key involved with symmetric encryption used both for encryption and decryption. The key needs to be shared among the parties who are involved who wish to encrypt or decrypt data. Asymmetric encryption uses two separate keys related to one other mathematically. These are known as private and public keys. Typically, the certificate is often linked with a public key, which retains the information about the public key owners.

The certificate consists of details like name, used algorithms, organization name, etc. However, symmetric and asymmetric encryption as ways of implementing cyber risk assessment may appear identical. Symmetric encryption is faster compared to asymmetric encryption, which is related to performance. Asymmetric encryption is slower, which is why symmetric encryption is specifically used in conjunction with asymmetric encryption. Let us now explore more related to this here.

Symmetric Encryption

As we have explained already, symmetric encryption utilizes an identical key for encryption and decryption; therefore, the sender will send the key to its receiver to decrypt the encrypted data. The key is often involved and needs to be protected and transferred securely. If anyhow the key is lost, then the data fails to get decrypted, and if the key is compromised, then it impacts encryption. Therefore, the symmetric keys get transferred among the parties who use the asymmetric encryption that ensures that the symmetric key stays encrypted. Two varied forms of keys get involved in encrypting and decrypting the data. Symmetric encryption is often comparably faster compared to asymmetric encryption, which is the reason why it gets used enormously.

Asymmetric Encryption

For managing third party risk, asymmetric encryption uses two distinctive keys that get mathematically involved with one another. The first one is known as the private as they are heavily protected. The key stays in an HSM or an air-gapped computer to ensure the protection of this key. The public key or the other one is derived from the private key that gets evenly distributed. The certificate is often created with the help of a public key that contains information about the owner of the key and a couple of details related to the key.

The key will often rely on the main number of the greater length. The public and private keys are simultaneously computed using similar mathematical operations, specifically the trapdoor functions. The trapdoor functions are easier to calculate in a single direction as they are troublesome to calculate in the reverse way. We can locate the public key; however, the private key never gets obtained through the public key using the private key.

Although asymmetric encryption offers greater protection to the keys, it is much slower than symmetric encryption. It is for this reason that asymmetric encryption is used for exchanging the secret key, which is used for establishing symmetric encryption for rapid data transfer and making encryption and decryption of the data rapid.

Integrating Encryption with Third Party Risk Management

In third party risk management, both symmetric and asymmetric encryption play pivotal roles. Companies should ensure that third-party vendors handle the key data and implement strong encryption practices to mitigate rapidly surfacing cyber risks and attacks.

Symmetric Encryption for Third Party Risk Management

  • Data Protection: Organizations will need third-party vendors to use symmetric encryption to safeguard the stored data to ensure that whenever data gets accessed for keeping it unreadable without the encryption key.
  • Secure Key Exchange: Implementation of the secure key exchange protocols remains critical while dealing with third parties. The encrypted channels for the distribution of keys and periodic key rotation would boost security.

Asymmetric Encryption for Third Party Risk Management

  • Secure Communications: Asymmetric encryption is the key to establishing secure communications with third-party vendors. The SSL/TLS protocols and the digital certificates ensure that the data gets transmitted between the parties in a tamper-proof and confidential manner.
  • Authentication and Integrity: Asymmetric encryption benefits the strong mechanisms behind authentication, verifying the identity of third-party vendors while ensuring the integrity of data.

Uses for Asymmetric and Symmetric Encryption

Asymmetric and symmetric encryption is used in a better way across a myriad of situations. Symmetric encryption with the use of a single key is better used for the data at rest. Data stored across the databases requires to be encrypted, ensuring that it does not get stolen or compromised. The data never needs two keys, just a single one offered by the symmetric encryption as it requires it to be safer until it gets accessed in the future. Alternatively, asymmetric encryption should be used on data that is sent across emails to the rest of the people.

Whenever symmetric encryption gets used on data in emails, the attackers take the key being used for encryption and decryption that gets compromised or stolen. The sender and recipient ensure that the recipient of the data can start decrypting the data since their public key gets used for data encryption with asymmetric encryption. These encryptions get used with different processes, such as digital signing or compression, offering greater data security.

Security and Trust

Making the right choice between symmetric and asymmetric encryption takes a lot of work to get a direct one. Asymmetric encryption is often used for establishing a secure connection between users who hardly met with the connection that was used for exchanging a symmetric encryption key. Whenever the entire process gets implemented in the SSL systems it will take a couple of milliseconds. As an outcome, numerous users will never find it. It is important for modern network infrastructure. For now, it is the ideal way to safeguard key data against corruption and theft.


Symmetric encryption is the fastest technique for encryption as the robust cybersecurity measures; however, the secret key should be exchanged securely for its real potential. Asymmetric encryption is thereby used for exchanging the key that gets involved for symmetric encryption. In both instances, asymmetric encryption is used briefly exchanging the parameters and establishing the symmetric encryption used for the remainder of the communication. Therefore, both of them get used together to achieve the perfect secure communication, achieving authenticity, maintaining privacy, proper authentication, and integrity of data.


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