Encryption adoption driven by PCI, fear of cyberattacks

A survey of more than 900 IT managers shows that adoption of encryption in their organizations is being driven by two main factors, anxiety about possible cyberattacks and the need to meet the payment-card industry (PCI) data security standards.

A survey of more than 900 IT managers shows that adoption of encryption in their organizations is being driven by two main factors, anxiety about possible cyberattacks and the need to meet the payment-card industry (PCI) data security standards.

How to roll out full-disk encryption on your PCs and laptops

According to the Ponemon Institute's "2010 Annual Study: U.S. Enterprise Encryption Trends," 69 per cent of the 964 IT managers responding to the survey said the need to meet regulatory compliance was the driving force behind deployment of encryption in their organizations. And the most important regulatory factor to them was the need to meet encryption requirements of the PCI data security standard.

It was the first time that respondents to the annual study listed regulatory compliance as "the main reason, for using encryption," according to the report, which was sponsored by Symantec. In the past, the need to simply protect data at rest was often the reason stated.

"Interestingly, PCI requirements have seen the greatest increase in influence by far over the past years, rising 49 points from 15 per cent in 2007 to 64 per cent this year," the report notes. Other regulations, such as state data-privacy laws in California and Massachusetts, for instance, as well as the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Sarbanes-Oxley still count, but have far less impact overall than PCI.

"PCI is becoming one of the most important drivers to action because failure to comply means organizations can't do credit-card transactions, which holds organizations to a much higher level of accountability," the 2010 Ponemon study on encryption says.

Another important factor spurring organizations to adopt encryption is fear related to cyberattacks. Some 88 per cent of organizations in the survey acknowledged at least one data breach, up three points from 2009. "And of those, "23 per cent had only one breach and 40 per cent had two to five breaches." These numbers were consistent with last year's results, but those experiencing more than five data breaches a year was up three per cent from 2009.

For the first time since the annual study has been done, "Nearly all respondents (97 per cent) list cyber attacks as the most severe threat to their ability to successfully carry out their mission."

The annual study has been done for six years now with five years of comparable data and methodology, says Institute director Larry Ponemon. "Encryption is a tool here to stay," he notes.

He points out that this year's study shows growing adoption and some preference for whole-disk encryption. One reason is that research shows "end users manipulate file encryption" by sometimes turning it off when they think it's slowing down computer use, Ponemon says. "Foolishly, they're trying to do an end run around it."

When the survey asked about budgeting for data security, the answers suggest that 89 per cent were earmarking for perimeter security controls, including intrusion detection and prevention, with anti-malware, and identity access and management also prominent. Sixty-nine percent planned for at least one type of encryption deployment. "Earmarks for encryption were up 9 points from 2009 and 12 points from 2008," the report says.

Nevertheless, the report reaches the conclusion that "data protection is not a high priority in most organizations," because "59 per cent of this year's respondents spent only five per cent to 10 per cent of the IT budgets on data protection activities."

Encryption got a much smaller percentage of that, with 37 per cent of respondents, for example, spending less than five per cent of their IT budgets on it.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags compliancesymantecdata encryptionsecuritylegalPonemon InstituteIT managementregulatory compliancecybercrime

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?