Master's Thesis from the year 2008 in the subject Computer Science - IT-Security, grade: A, Strayer University (Computer Science), course: CIS 590, language: English, abstract: This research study attempts to answer the main question of what would be the impact of encryption on long term electronic records retention and retrieval. Since these records have been archived for many years, the potential for loosing the encryption key, the encryption software, or the link between the key and specific records increases considerably.
Encryption has proven itself throughout history as a very effective tool in providing for the confidentiality and integrity of information. Recent advances in encryption algorithms have made deciphering an encrypted piece of information without the encryption key practically impossible.
While this sounds impressive it also poses the critical question of what happens when the encryption key is lost? Will the information be lost forever?
To complete this research an extensive literature search was conducted, followed by interviews with practitioners, researchers and technology implementers. Additionally, the author built a proof-of- concept of a virtual computer.
Main research was focused on issues associated with long term archival of electronic records, encryption, and virtual machine software.