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What is a difference between deterministic and randomized encryption when you use Always Encrypted feature of Azure SQL Database?

Experience Level: Senior
Tags: Azure CloudAzure SQL Database

Answer

When deterministic encryption is used, when you encrypt specific value, its encrypted form looks always the same. So if you encrypt the value 10 times in 10 different items, you will always get the same encrypted string. Thanks to this, you can use deterministic encryption even for columns that you need to group by and filter by, because the database engine can do the grouping/filtering operation by the encrypted value. The column can also be encrypted.

Randomized encryption on the other hand adds salt and thus produces different encrypted values for each time you encrypt the same input value. This is nice security enhancement, but it also prevents equality searches, grouping, indexing and joining on encrypted columns.

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