END-TO-END ENCRYPTION – DEFINITION
End-to-end encryption means that a computer file being shared is encrypted before it is sent, and it stays encrypted until the authorised recipient decrypts it. It is only then that the contents of the file can be accessed again.
The way things usually work when you send files
Normally a file you share is sent to the recipient in several stages. These stages take place in different parts of the world. To protect the content of the file it is often encrypted.
The problem with this solution is that it is not complete. It is not uncommon for the content to be decrypted at each stage, and then being encrypted again before it is sent on. This means the content are exposed several times and in different parts of the world.
This is better than having no encryption at all. But it still poses a risk of unauthorised people seeing your data. Especially if they have bad intentions.
If you want to make sure no unauthorised person can access you files during transfer, you have to use end-to-end encryption.
End-to-end encryption in practice
In practice, end-to-end encryption means that users have to have software installed on their computer. This client software handles encryption and the so-called encryption keys. This software is the foundation for securely storing and sharing files in the cloud.