Entropy in Your DMS

When you think of the state of your document management system, hopefully the first word that comes to mind is not “entropy” (a state of disorder or randomness).

But, what if the laws of entropy in quantum mechanics could be used to enhance the security of your DMS?

In computing, a hardware random number generator (HRNG) or true random number generator (TRNG) is a device that generates random numbers from a physical process, rather than by means of an algorithm. Such devices are often based on microscopic natural phenomena that generate low-level, statistically random "noise" signals, such as thermal noise, the photoelectric effect, and other quantum phenomena.1

One such phenomena is quantum tunneling, which is the quantum mechanical phenomenon where a subatomic particle passes through a potential barrier.2 These stochastic processes are, in theory, completely unpredictable, and the theory's assertions of unpredictability are subject to experimental validation. Meaning – the system generates numbers that are randomly determined with a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.

This contrasts with pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs) that are commonly implemented in traditional computer programs. PRNGs are algorithms that use mathematical formulas to produce sequences of random numbers. A PRNG starts by using a seed number to begin generating its “random” answers. However, these answers can be reproduced later if the starting point or seed is known.3

NetDocuments uses HRNGs to generate fully entropic, or random, encryption keys. The NetDocuments HRNGs measure a system involving quantum tunneling to produce a fully entropic, state-of-nature data stream. This completely random data is used to create every encryption key used in the NetDocuments Service, including a unique Object Encryption Key (OEK) for each individual file or document in the Service.  These OEKs are further encrypted by a Master Encryption Key (MEK), providing a dual layer of security.

The result is encryption which is unbreakable using current technologies. In layman’s terms, predicting one of these encryption keys would be analogous to predicting the shape of the next snowflake to fall at a given moment.

These entropic encryption keys represent the baseline security in NetDocuments. There is no need for additional costs or configuration on the part of a NetDocuments client in order to achieve this level of security. No other system offers your data the same level of encryption security as NetDocuments. 

Given the ever-increasing need for professionals to work remotely, NetDocuments encryption provides peace of mind by ensuring your sensitive data is stored securely no matter where you access it from.

If you want to learn more about security and your document management system or have any other document management questions, please contact the Document Management Team at Affinity by calling 877-676-5492, or simply request a consultation. 



1 Hardware Random Number Generator. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_random_number_generator

2 Quantum Tunneling. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling

3 Pseudo Random Number Generator (PRNG). Geeks for Geeks. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/pseudo-random-number-generator-prng/



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Russell Duncan

Written by Russell Duncan

Russell Duncan is one of Affinity’s Document Management Magicians! Russell came to Affinity after spending several years with Partner NetDocuments wearing many hats over his years there. Affinity clients gain from Russell’s immense experience working with document management solutions and problem-solving skills. He loves to help people get the most out of their technology and to learn new things. When analyzing complex legal software systems, Russell is gifted in his ability to simplify them for others’ ease of use and understanding.

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