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What do PQC Standards by NIST Mean for Enterprises?

QNu Labs   |   Aug 28, 2023

Countries around the world are adopting quantum technologies at a rapid rate. India announced the National Quantum Mission to demonstrate the government’s dedication to advancing quantum science in the country and hint at quantum priorities.

Many confuse quantum technology with quantum computing. Though quantum computing is a sought-after application of quantum mechanics, other applications are equally important. If quantum computing advances to the aspirational point, it might mean more bad news than good.

Quantum computers of a sufficient scale can threaten the current cryptography putting sensitive and confidential data exchanged online in jeopardy. The good news is that quantum cryptography has made significant progress in tandem with quantum computing. The two technologies: Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) are sufficient to safeguard against risks.

Relation between PQC and NIST

When one refers to PQC and standards, NIST pops up by default. NIST is an abbreviation for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is headquartered in the USA. A few years ago, NIST launched a PQC competition and invited submissions for the most effective algorithms. In the summer of 2022, they announced the first set of winners, selecting one public key encryption algorithm (CRYSTALS-Kyber) and three digital signature algorithms (CRYSTALS-DILITHIUM, FALCON, and SPHINCS+).

NIST will soon announce the most anticipated draft standards. The fourth and final round of their competition to choose the last set of algorithms is ongoing. NIST will then produce its final recommendations and formal standards for PQC. All of this is due by the end of 2024.

Why are NIST Guidelines Essential?

NIST is the leading body in standardising PQC globally. The announcement of the first set of algorithms gathered a lot of interest among businesses and corporations in quantum cryptography. The threat to existing encryption was made clear and the steps to migrate to new-age encryption were proposed. NIST is backed by the government of the USA providing the necessary impetus for quick adoption of PQC.

The move from currently used RSA or ECC algorithms to PQC seems like an easy task. But, the operational nuances are many. Some enterprises might have to completely overhaul their security systems. PQC is not a simple upgrade to the existing systems, it is a switch to new-age cryptography.

With every passing day, Y2Q is nearing, making the migration to PQC urgent. It is estimated that present-day encryptions will fail in the near future. Governments are taking immediate steps to ready enterprises for next-gen security. The task is complex, time-consuming, and effort-intensive. Security teams will have to plan and prepare for this migration.

PQC’s quantum-resistant algorithms will harden the encryption technologies that zero trust’s reliability, stability and scale rely on. They also strengthen confidentiality, integrity, and authentication. PQC secures data in transit and at rest, fortressing zero trust. By enabling secure communication among organizations and systems, PQC will help build a zero-trust digital ecosystem. Interoperability ensures secure connections with partners, suppliers, and customers even as technology changes.

How can QNu Labs help?

QNu Labs is a pioneer in developing products that proactively secure data for the post-quantum era.

QNu's range of quantum-based products covers security from end-to-end across the entire data-based paraphernalia. From quantum-based encryptions to entropy enhancement services, QNu covers all security bases.

QNu’s flagship products Armos (QKD), Tropos (QRNG), and Hodos (PQC) are a perfect start to your quantum-cryptography journey of protecting your enterprise data.

It is time to use quantum cryptography against quantum-powered attacks.