Study: Encryption Critical to Increase Security Posture

Thales, provider of information systems and communications security, recently announced the publication of the 2011 Global Encryption Trends Study. The report, based on independent research by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Thales, reveals that encryption is now seen as a strategic issue and that organizations are increasing their investment in encryption across the enterprise in response to compliance regulations and cyber-attacks.

More than 4,000 business and IT managers were surveyed in the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan and Brazil. This year’s study looks at more territories than in any previous year since its launch in 2005 when it was the first to examine regional differences in encryption usage.

The report found that encryption deployment rates vary across different countries. Germany, the US and Japan show the greatest use of encryption. However, what is clear is that encryption is growing in importance in all the countries, with companies increasingly deploying encryption as part of an overall data protection strategy. In 2005 only 15 percnet of organizations surveyed had an encryption strategy, today for the first time there are more organizations with an encryption strategy than without.

Encryption is now viewed as a strategic issue with business leaders gaining greater influence over their organization’s encryption strategy. The study shows that the CIO, CTO or IT leader still tends to be the most important figure in deciding encryption strategy (39 percent of respondents), but non-IT business managers have an increasing role in determining that strategy (more than doubling since 2005 to 21 percent of respondents), demonstrating that encryption is no longer seen as just an IT issue but one that affects an entire organization.

The main drivers for deploying encryption solutions are to protect brand reputation (45 percent) and lessen the impact of data breaches (40 percent). Compliance is also a major driver for using encryption with 39% of respondents saying it is to comply with privacy or data security regulations and requirements. Compliance is also driving increased budgets with the highest IT security spend dedicated to data protection in countries that rank compliance as the most important driver for encryption. Compliance is in fact the number one driver for using encryption in the US, UK and France.

Respondents considered key management issues to be amongst the most important features of encryption technology, in particular the use of automated and centralized key management. Most interestingly, half of respondents believed that investments in key management had the potential to reduce operational costs within their organization. The significance of key management was further illustrated when respondents were asked about the relative importance of various best practices or “standards of due care” when deploying encryption with 5 out the top 7 being explicitly focused on key management issues.

Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of The Ponemon Institute, says, “The scale and geographical reach of this year’s study is greater than ever before. The regional differences in encryption usage highlighted by the study are fascinating and, in some cases, surprising. Nonetheless, regardless of an organization’s location, it is clear that encryption and key management are becoming more widely deployed and increasingly seen as strategic issues. Encryption usage has emerged as a clear indicator of a strong security posture with organizations that deploy encryption being more aware of threats to sensitive and confidential information and making a greater investment in IT security.”

“Encryption is taking center stage as a strategic IT security issue, in order to mitigate the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks and to protect an organization’s brand, reputation and credibility.” says Franck Greverie, Thales vice president in charge of information technology security activities. “However encryption is only a valuable tool if deployed correctly. Thales enables its customers to achieve high levels of assurance when deploying all forms of cryptography. By following the appropriate standards of due care our customers are able to reinforce their organization’s data security practices and protect their most valuable assets and business processes”.

 

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