Research: Privacy, Data Security, Compliance Drive Encryption Adoption

Many organizations prefer control over encryption and key management when those activities migrate to the cloud, which is reflected in a recent study completed by data security company Thales e-Security.

Forty-one percent of respondents said their organization has an encryption strategy applied consistently across the enterprise, the Thales "2017 Global Encryption Trends Study" revealed. In addition, 46 percent of respondents indicated they perform encryption on premise before they send data to the cloud with keys that they generate or manage, the study showed.

Encryption Challenges and Drivers

The Thales 2017 Global Encryption Trends Study highlighted various encryption challenges and drivers, and key findings included:

  • 54 percent of respondents cited employee error as the most significant threat to sensitive or confidential data in their organization.
  • 55 percent said privacy and data security compliance are the main driver to extensive encryption use within their organization, followed by the need to protect enterprise intellectual property (51 percent).
  • 59 percent noted finding out where sensitive data resides in their organization is the biggest challenge relative to encryption deployment.
  • Respondents ranked system performance and latency, enforcement of policy and support for cloud and on-premise deployment as the most important encryption technology features.

The study also showed business unit leaders have overtaken IT operations in terms of their influence over encryption strategy.

"This year's findings align with key trends demonstrating an increased reliance on the cloud, ever-evolving internal and external threats and new data sources mandating stronger protection. The survey further reinforces that cloud key management offerings are more important than ever – and business-leader involvement is crucial to a sound security strategy," John Grimm, Thales' senior director of security strategy, said in a prepared statement.

How Are Organizations Protecting Data at Rest in the Cloud?

Sixty-seven percent of study respondents indicated they use one of two options to protect data at rest in the cloud:

  • They perform encryption on premise prior to sending data to the cloud; or
  • Encrypt data in the cloud using keys that they generate and manage on premise.

Moreover, 37 percent said their organizations turn over complete control of keys and encryption processes to cloud providers.

Is Universal Data Encryption Inevitable?

Most data eventually will be encrypted, according to Ovum Principal Analyst Richard Edwards. However, organizations must perform data classification to prioritize their corporate data encryption.

Effective data classification requires organizations to teach employees about data privacy and information security issues and implement user-friendly data management solutions, Edwards indicated on ChannelE2E. By doing so, organizations can take a proactive approach to data distribution and file sharing.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.