About data encryption

Data is an organization’s most valuable and irreplaceable asset, and encryption serves as the last and strongest line of defence in a multi-layered data security strategy. Microsoft business cloud services and products use encryption to safeguard customer data and help you maintain control over it.

At-rest data protection

Encrypting your information renders it unreadable to unauthorized persons, even if they break through your firewalls, infiltrate your network, get physical access to your devices, or bypass the permissions on your local machine. Encryption transforms data so that only someone with the decryption key can access it.

Dynamics 365 uses heterogenous storage (Dataverse) to store the data. The data is distributed across different storage types:

  • Azure SQL Database for relational data
  • Azure Blob storage for binary data, such as images and documents
  • Azure Search for search indexing
  • Microsoft 365 Activity Log and Azure Cosmos DB for audit data

Dataverse databases are using SQL TDE (Transparent Data Encryption, compliant with FIPS 140-2) to provide real-time I/O encryption and decryption of the data and log files for data encryption at-rest. Azure Storage Encryption is used for data at rest stored in the Azure Blob Storage. These are encrypted and decrypted transparently using 256-bit AES encryption compliant with FIPS 140-2.

By default, Microsoft stores and manages the database encryption key for your environments. As of now, given the heterogenous storage, the customer managed key feature is available only for the Azure SQL database that stores transactional data. The File/Document (blob storage) and Azure Data Lake encryption by customer managed key is in the roadmap for future releases. The manage keys feature in the Power Platform admin center gives administrators the ability to self-manage the database encryption key that is associated with the tenant. Given the heterogenous type of storage, Customer Managed Keys are limited to encrypt the Azure SQL Database storing transactional data only. File, Log and Search encryption will remain managed by Microsoft.

Encryption of data at rest

Administrators can provide their own encryption key using their own key generator hardware (HSM) or use our administrator tool to generate an encryption key. The key management feature supports both PFX and BYOK encryption files.

The key management feature takes the complexity out of encryption key management by using Azure Key Vault to securely store encryption keys. Azure Key Vault helps safeguard cryptographic keys and secrets used by cloud applications and services. The key management feature doesn't require that you have an Azure Key Vault subscription and for most situations there is no need to access encryption keys used for Dynamics 365 (Dataverse) within the vault. Encryption keys must meet the following Azure Key Vault requirements:

  1. Key file format of PFX or BYOK,
  2. 2048-bit RSA or RSA-HSM key type, and
  3. PFX encryption key are password protected.

Administrators also can revert the encryption key back to a Microsoft managed key at any time.

In-transit data protection

Azure protects data in transit to or from outside components, as well as data in transit internally, such as between two virtual networks. Azure uses industry standard transport protocols such as TLS between user devices and Microsoft data centers, and within data centers themselves. To protect your data even more, internal communication between Microsoft services is using Microsoft backbone network and therefore is not exposed to the public internet.

Microsoft uses multiple encryption methods, protocols, and algorithms across its products and services to help provide a secure path for data to travel through the infrastructure, and to help protect the confidentiality of data that is stored within the infrastructure. Microsoft uses some of the strongest, most secure encryption protocols in the industry to provide a barrier against unauthorized access to your data. Proper key management is an essential element in encryption best practices, and Microsoft helps ensure that encryption keys are properly secured.

Encryption of data in transit

Protocols and technologies examples include:

  • Transport Layer Security/Secure Sockets Layer (TLS/SSL), which uses symmetric cryptography based on a shared secret to encrypt communications as they travel over the network.
  • Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), an industry-standard set of protocols used to provide authentication, integrity, and confidentiality of data at the IP packet level as it’s transferred across the network.
  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)-256, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) specification for a symmetric key data encryption that was adopted by the US government to replace Data Encryption Standard (DES) and RSA 2048 public key encryption technology.