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Monday, 29 February 2016 15:35

Lack of cloud encryption strategies could leave businesses vulnerable to cyberattacks.

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Businesses are fast-tracking their plans to move confidential data to the cloud, but many are failing to create adequate strategies for security and encryption.

The 11th annual Thales e-Security 2016 Global Encryption Trends Study reveals that just over half (56%) of organisations are moving sensitive or confidential data to the cloud. However, this is set to increase significantly with the vast majority (84%) of organisations planning to transfer sensitive data by 2018.

The encryption study commissioned by Thales e-Security and produced by IT security think-tank Ponemon, also revealed that while encryption use has increased in the last ten years there is still some way to go, with just over a third (37%) having an applied encryption plan or strategy and many users doubting their expertise and having problems with their data.

Figures for 2015 show that less than half (41%) classified themselves as extensive users and just over half of respondents (57%) don’t even know where their sensitive data resides. Although in fairness things have been improving as the 41% is almost 2.5x more than 2005 when it was at just 16%,   

Looking at the data types encrypted, the survey found employee and HR data were the ones most likely to be encrypted in 2015 – higher even than payment data, intellectual property or financial records. A marked change to last year where IT teams were concentrating on backend storage & archives.

The survey also shows the fear of hackers isn’t as large as the media portrays it. When asked where their potential security problems lie, respondents put employee mistakes as their number one threat to data exposure. Followed by system or application malfunction rather than the external attack or malicious insiders that you would expect.

The survey looked at businesses worldwide and put Germany in first place, with 61% of its businesses applying an encryption strategy consistently, the UK was in fourth place with just 38%.

Commenting on the report Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of The Ponemon Institute, said. “Encryption usage continues to be a clear indicator of a strong security posture. The findings of this year’s study demonstrate the importance of both encryption and key management across a wide range of core enterprise applications – from networking, databases and application level encryption to PKI, payments, public and private cloud computing and more.”

The global study – now in its 11th year - looked at the implementation of encryption and includes the results from over 5000 businesses worldwide including US, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Mexico, India, and for the first time this year Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. 

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