data jumble

Enterprises turning to encryption to keep data safe

Data privacy laws are driving a big rise in corporate spending on encryption, according to a new report, with deployment in the UK companies surveyed rising by 15 per cent a year over the last six years.

The 2011 UK Encryption Trends Study was launched in April at the Infosecurity Europe show in London, and is part of a seven-nation annual study conducted by independent research firm the Ponemon Institute for Thales. It is based on responses from 651 business and IT managers in UK organisations.

The report shows that the overall security posture of the UK participants has steadily increased over the six years since the first survey in 2006. The 15 per cent compound annual growth rate in the use of encryption correlates very strongly with general awareness of data security threats and an a clear understanding of how best to respond to those risks.

Since the research began tracking encryption trends, more UK respondents are reporting that they already have or are adopting an overall encryption strategy that is applied consistently across the enterprise. Compliance with privacy and data security regulation is their most commonly cited reason.

Among UK organisations, encryption is most likely to be deployed enterprise-wide for databases (34 per cent of responses), but the fastest-growing areas are for laptops and smartphones or tablets.

“Encryption used to be something for financial services and government,” said Richard Moulds, vice president strategy, Thales e-Security. “Now data privacy laws mean everyone’s interested.”

In particular, companies are worried about the requirement for public disclosure of data breaches, and the resultant damage to reputation, Moulds told E&T. “There are lots of perimeter technologies here [at Infosecurity]”, he said, “but when they fail, encryption is your back-up”.

Protecting data is not so much a matter of technology as an operational issue, Mould commented, requiring proper processes to control access. “Sooner or later everybody’s going to lose data,” he commented. “The question is, how useful is it to the attacker? If it’s encrypted, they can’t do anything with it.”

Download 2011 Encryption Trends Study United Kingdom and the 2011 Global Encryption Trends Study

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