The process of encoding a message so that it can be read only by the sender and the intended recipient. Encryption systems often use two keys, a public key, available to anyone, and a private key that allows only the recipient to decode the message.
All those PANs temporarily stored in workstation RAM before being sent to the financial system database are a juicy target for hackers. This unsecured process also renders the workstation unusable for any other purpose, isolated from the Internet and any other office application. Adding an encrypted pin pad device to the call center station is an effective first step to ensuring that PANs are not stored in a readable format, should a hacker insert malware into the workstation. This is an easier and more cost-effective solution than deploying workstations dedicated only to collecting payment information which have restricted access to Internet connections, no email, or office applications that can be the source of malware.