RSAC17: Geopolitical changes driving encryption usage, survey shows

More organisations are planning to deploy encryption in response to geopolitical changes, but confidence in organisations’ ability to secure and protect encryption is low, a survey shows

Recent geopolitical changes are driving concern about data privacy in the security industry, resulting in the increasing use of encryption to protect data, a survey has revealed.

Nearly three-quarters of more than 900 RSA Conference 2017 attendees polled at the event in San Francisco said recent political events had made them more concerned about privacy.

As a result, two-thirds (66%) said their organisations are looking to increase their use of encryption, according to the survey by Venafi, a provider of protection for cryptographic keys and digital certificates.

“The tension between data privacy and national security is going to continue to escalate,” said Jeff Hudson, CEO of Venafi.

“Encryption is the lynchpin of our entire global digital economy. It controls the privacy and security of everything from our personal photos to the most sensitive national security data.

“Our collective ability to secure encrypted data has a profound impact on digital privacy and trust around the world,” he said.

However, only 29% of security professionals polled said they are “90% confident” in their organisations’ ability to secure and protect encrypted communication.

Nearly a third said they are “not confident” or have only “50% confidence” in their organisations’ ability to protect and secure encrypted communication, while 7% admitted they “have no idea” if their organisation can protect encrypted communication.

Around three-quarters of security professionals said they are more concerned today about encryption backdoors than they were a year ago.

Read more about the security risks of encryption

“Encryption plays a fundamental role in data privacy, whether it’s protecting data from hackers or governments,” said Paul Turner, CTO of server products at Venafi.

“The challenges organisations are already facing in managing and securing encryption keys, combined with concerns about the integrity and strength of encryption implementations, is undermining confidence in the privacy and security of data,” he said.

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