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 CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags compliancesymantecdata encryptionsecuritylegalPonemon InstituteIT managementregulatory compliancecybercrime

More about LANSymantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Ellen Messmer

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts