Protecting consumer’s personal data becomes top reason for encryption, global study involving nCipher Security finds
Protecting consumer’s personal information has become the primary reason for deploying encryption technology, according to a study involving Cambridge-based nCipher Security.
It also found employee mistakes were the biggest threat to keeping sensitive data safe - outweighing concerns over hacking.
Some 6,457 individuals across multiple industry sectors in 17 countries were surveyed for the 15th annual Global Encryption Trends Study by the Ponemon Institute in collaboration with nCipher, an Entrust Datacard company focused on hardware security modules.
For the first time, protecting consumer data topped the reasons given for using encryption, with 54 per cent citing it as their top priority, while compliance (47 per cent) - traditionally a key driver - was fourth. It has been falling down the list since 2017, indicating that encryption is transitioning from a requirement to a proactive choice to safeguard critical information.
Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute, said: “Consumers expect brands to keep their data safe from breaches and have their best interests at heart. The survey found that IT leaders are taking this seriously, with protection of consumer data cited as the top driver of encryption growth for the first time.
“Encryption use is at an all-time high with 48 per cent of respondents this year saying their organization has an overall encryption plan applied consistently across the entire enterprise, and a further 39 per cent having a limited plan or strategy applied to certain application and data types.”
Some 54 per cent cited employee mistakes as the biggest threat to keeping sensitive data safe, with hackers (29 per cent), malicious insiders (20 per cent), lawful data requests (12 per cent) and government eavesdropping (11 per cent) well behind in the list.
The growth in digital initiatives, cloud use, mobility, IoT devices and the advent of 5G networks means that data discovery was cited by 67 per cent as the biggest challenge in planning and executing a data encryption strategy. The number of employees working remotely during the pandemic, and keeping extra copies on personal devices or in cloud storage, means this concern is only likely to increase.
John Grimm, vice president of strategy at nCipher, which has a base in Station Square, said: “As the world goes digital, the impact of the global pandemic highlights how security and identity have become critical for organisations and individuals both at work and at home,”
“Organisations are under relentless pressure to deliver high security and seamless access – protecting their customer data, business critical information and applications while ensuring business continuity. nCipher empowers customers by providing a high assurance security foundation that ensures the integrity and trustworthiness of their data, applications and intellectual property.”
Other findings in the full report, which can be downloaded online, include:
- 60 per cent of organisations plan to use blockchain, with cryptocurrency/wallets, asset transactions, identity, supply chain and smart contracts cited at the top use cases;
- 83 per cent of respondents report transferring sensitive data to the cloud, or planning to do so within the next 12 to 24 months;
- the highest prevalence of organisations with an enterprise encryption strategy is in Germany (66 per cent) followed by the United States (66 per cent), Sweden (62 per cent), Hong Kong (60 per cent), Netherlands (56 per cent) and the United Kingdom (54 per cent).
- Payment-related data (54 per cent of respondents) and financial records (54 per cent of respondents) are most likely to be encrypted.
- Surprisingly. the least likely data type to be encrypted is health-related information (25 per cent of respondents); and
- The industries seeing the most significant increase in extensive encryption usage are manufacturing (49 per cent), hospitality (44 per cent) and consumer products (43 per cent).