MongoDB makes end-to-end data encryption technology available

MongoDB makes end-to-end data encryption technology available Duncan is an award-winning researcher, with 20 years experience of analysing the technology industry, specialising in cloud computing, edge computing, blockchain, cybersecurity and marketing technology.


MongoDB has announced the general availability of MongoDB Queryable Encryption, a first-of-its-kind technology that helps organisations protect sensitive data when it is queried and in-use on MongoDB.

MongoDB Queryable Encryption is said to significantly reduce the risk of data exposure for organisations and improves developer productivity by providing built-in encryption capabilities for highly sensitive application workflows – such as searching employee records, processing financial transactions, or analysing medical records – with no cryptography expertise required.

Sahir Azam, chief product officer at MongoDB, said: “Protecting data is critical for every organisation, especially as the volume of data being generated grows and the sophistication of modern applications is only increasing. Organisations also face the challenge of meeting a growing number of data privacy and customer data protection requirements.

“Now, with MongoDB Queryable Encryption, customers can protect their data with state-of-the-art encryption and reduce operational risk—all while providing an easy-to-use capability developers can quickly build into applications to power experiences their end-users expect.”

Data protection is the top priority among organisations across industries today as they face a growing number of regulations and compliance requirements to protect personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI), and other sensitive data. A common data protection capability organisations use to protect data is encryption, where sensitive information is made unreadable by cryptographic algorithms using an encryption key – and only made readable again using a decryption key customers securely manage.

Data can be protected through encryption in-transit when traveling over networks, at-rest when stored, and in-use when it is being processed. However, working with encrypted data in-use poses significant challenges because it needs to be decrypted before it can be processed or analysed. Organisations that work with highly sensitive data want to improve their security posture and meet compliance requirements by encrypting their data throughout its full lifecycle – including while it is being queried. Until now, the only way to keep information encrypted during the entire lifecycle was to employ highly specialised teams with extensive expertise in cryptography.

With the general availability of MongoDB Queryable Encryption, customers can now secure sensitive workloads for use cases in highly regulated or data sensitive industries like financial services, health care, government, and critical infrastructure services by encrypting data while it is being processed and in-use. Customers can get quickly started protecting data in-use by selecting the fields in MongoDB databases that contain sensitive data that need to be encrypted while in-use. For example, an authorised application end-user at a financial services company may need to query records using a customer’s savings account number.

When configured with MongoDB Queryable Encryption, the content of the query and the data in the savings account field will remain encrypted when traveling over the network, while it is stored in the database, and while the query processes the data to retrieve relevant information. After data is retrieved, it becomes visible only to an authorised application end user with a customer-controlled decryption key to help prevent inadvertent data exposure or exfiltration by malicious actors.

With MongoDB Queryable Encryption, developers can now easily implement first-of-its-kind encryption technology to ensure their applications are operating with the highest levels of data protection and that sensitive information is never exposed while it is being processed—significantly reducing the risk of data exposure.

The MongoDB Cryptography Research Group developed the underlying encryption technology behind MongoDB Queryable Encryption and is open source. Organisations can freely examine the cryptographic techniques and code behind the technology to help meet security and compliance requirements. MongoDB Queryable Encryption can be used with AWS Key Management Service, Microsoft Azure Key Vault, Google Cloud Key Management Service, and other services compliant with the key management interoperability protocol (KMIP) to manage cryptographic keys. The general availability of MongoDB Queryable Encryption includes support for equality queries, with additional query types (e.g., range, prefix, suffix, and substring) generally available in upcoming releases.

Since the release of MongoDB Queryable Encryption in preview last year, MongoDB has worked in partnership with customers including leading financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies in the healthcare, insurance, and automotive manufacturing industries to fine-tune the service for general availability.

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Xin Wang, solutions architect at Renault, said: “MongoDB Queryable Encryption is significant for ensuring data protection and security compliance.

“Our teams are eager for the architecture pattern validation of Queryable Encryption and are excited about its future evolution, particularly regarding performance optimisation and batch operator support. We look forward to seeing how Queryable Encryption will help meet security and compliance requirements.”

To get started with MongoDB Queryable Encryption, visit mongodb.com/products/capabilities/security/encryption.

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