Data integrity holds the most delicate aspect of any organization. It provides the reliability and security of data details over its lifecycle. However, day after day the number of data violations and data-tampering incidents is increasing rapidly. Such an issue commonly takes place as cybercriminals always keep trying to find new sensitive strategies to victimize internet users. To counter such a problem, an encryption technique protects digital data secretly by converting plaintext to ciphertext. In such a way, only authorized individuals could get access to your message or data, and those people who are not authorized cannot.

For example, you want to send a letter to your buddy stating you miss him but you don’t want anybody else to open and read the message. In this guide, I’m going to explain two different types of encryption in an easy way i.e. **Symmetric** and **Asymmetric** encryption.

## Difference between Symmetric & Asymmetric Encryption

It is clear that Symmetric encryption and Asymmetric encryption are both forms of encryption. However, the basic difference between these two techniques is that symmetric encryption uses a single secret key while asymmetric encryption uses two separate keys.

Another point is that asymmetric encryption is relatively slower in the execution process. Since symmetric encryption is less complicated and executes faster, it infers a better way to transfer large quantities of data.

### What is Symmetric Encryption

As said earlier, symmetric encryption is a form of encryption that uses only one private key to cipher and decipher the data. Such a way of encrypting messages had been widely used in earlier times to have a secret conversation between administrations and armies. It mainly uses a private key that can either be a number, a letter, a symbol, or a sequence of arbitrary characters such as BK5, RU-8. These words are combined with the plain text of a message so that it could change the content in a particular way. Due to having a less complex algorithm, it executes the process faster.

Although it is well said that everything has both aspects, right and wrong. In the same way, symmetric encryption also has a disadvantage of using. That is, the encrypted data can only be deciphered using the same secret key that the sender has used to encrypt. In simple language, the sender uses a secret key to encode data before sending the information, right? The receiver should have the same secret key to decode the enciphered message. Because of their simplistic nature, both operations can be carried out quite fast.

Let us look at the example I used above. If you have used symmetric encryption to secure the message you are sending to your buddy, then obviously, the same key will be used to encrypt and decrypt the data. But your friend has no private key to decrypt the message or data. In this case, you must transfer the key through a secure channel.

### What is Asymmetric Encryption

Asymmetric encryption is an encryption model that requires a pair of two different keys, i.e., a public key and a private key. Since it uses two separate keys, it is also known as public key cryptography, and that’s why it is considered to be more secure than symmetric encryption.

But here you may think, Why does it need two keys? Asymmetric encryption, called the public key, uses one key to encode the data. And this public key is available to everyone. Whereas asymmetric encryption uses the private key to decode the encoded data, which must be kept secret.

For example, if you send greetings to your beloved one and encrypt the message using a public key, then your friend can only decrypt it using the private key that belongs to you. However, if you encode the message using a private key, your friend will need your public key to decode it.

This cryptographic technique is relatively new and provides higher security. Asymmetric encryption uses two separate keys for the encoding and decoding process. However, one major shortcoming of asymmetric encryption is that it takes more time than the process associated with symmetric encryption.

### Private Key

Although the private key is used with an algorithm to encode and decode data, its primary need is to decipher any information that is ciphered using the public key.

In data encryption, this private key is also known as a secret key, and it must be kept confidential. This means that this secret key never needs to be transferred, and thus, there is no reason that it can be required by a third party.

### Public Key

As the name implies, this key is available publically. It doesn’t require any security and is mainly used to encode information, not to decode.

In this tutorial, I have explained symmetric and asymmetric encryption and provided examples in a very simple and transparent way.