What is encryption and how does it make a file secure?

Encryption is a security measure to ensure that a file is locked from any unwanted viewers. It basically locks a file and prevents anyone from viewing the file until it has been decrypted. When you use encryption software to lock a file (like GearXport) a security code is generated. You will only be able to decrypt the file with compatible decryption software and by entering the specific security key that was generated for the encrypted file. Without both of these things the file is locked from any kind of viewing. This makes the file secure and within guidelines for transport to desired recipients. The sender will encrypt the file and generate a key and then send the file. The sender than must notify the recipient with what the security key is, and then the recipient can decrypt the file with the security key and their own decryption software.

Encryption is the process of transformation information using an algorithm (called cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge. The result of the process is encrypted information. In many contexts, the word encryption also implicitly refers to the reverse process, decryption. *Yawn* Thanks Wiki. For me, I like to think of encryption as a magical process that wraps each dictation file in a steel ball with a lock on it that keeps data safe and secure as it makes its way through cyberspace.

But, before you can talk about securely transferring PHI, you must first choose those who you’d like to “possess special knowledge” as wiki puts it. For those people you must create a special key and send it to them. This key is unique to you. They simply need to accept the key in their software and voila!