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Is there a common approach to encrypting data at the database level? The application I am working on will be storing sensitive data that only users of the system themselves will be able to view.

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    Following on from Jon's comment, are you suggesting that each user has a different encryption key? Are you actually asking about row level security a.k.a filtering to the rows a user can see.
    – gbn
    May 2, 2014 at 13:52

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Depending on your security restrictions you could:

  • use cell-level encryption (basically column-level encryption), which decrypts the data once it hits the buffer pool; it's available in all SQL Server versions, including Express
  • encrypt/decrypt data in your own application, so unencrypted data is never present in the database server's memory

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