A global survey by the Ponemon Institute revealed that encryption continues to be a struggle for many organisations in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia. The survey also revealed the stranglehold of IT when it comes to encryption in almost all surveyed countries globally except in the US where lines of business or general management dominate ownership of the topic. Employee mistake tops the list when it comes to the most likely source of data breach.
Just the numbers
Among APAC countries, Japan (60%) leads in use of encryption and Southeast Asia ranked lowest at 36%). Hong Kong (54%) is inches above the global average of 50%.
Hong Kong tops APAC and comes in second globally in reporting challenges associated with managing keys within organizations (66% versus a 56% global average of respondents that chose “pain” ratings at or above 7 out of a 10-point scale).
Despite the global average being 54%, Japan and Hong Kong rank protecting customer information as the top driver for encrypting at 74% and 72%, respectively.
Respondents in Korea are planning a large increase in the use of HSMs with application encryption over the next 12 months — growing from 40% to 61%.
Threats and priorities
IT professionals rank protecting customer information as the top driver for deploying encryption technologies. And yet customer information is ranked only fifth on the list of information that is encrypted. This reveals a disparity in organisation’s priorities and the realities of deploying encryption.
The survey revealed that enterprises encrypt financial records (55%), payment-related data (55%), employee/HR data (48%) and intellectual property (48%). These outranked customer personal information at 42%.
“Breaches of personal information strike at the heart of the relationship between enterprises and their customers. Encryption is at the foundation of data protection, and when organizations don’t prioritize protecting customer personal information, they raise enterprise risk of lost business and reputation,” said John Grimm, vice president of strategy at Entrust.
Compliance – losing its authority
According to the study, although compliance remains important, its influence continues to decline.
Protection of customer information (54%), protection against specific, identified threats (50%), and protection of intellectual property (49%) all rank higher than compliance (45%).
Managing keys is hard work
For the first time, half (50%) of organizations now report that they have an overall encryption strategy applied consistently, while 37% report a limited encryption strategy.
But this milestone reveals new gaps, particularly in multi-cloud environments. Encryption tools abound, with organizations report using an average of eight different products that perform encryption.
Respondents rank performance, management of encryption keys, policy enforcement and support for both cloud and on-premises deployment are the top valued features of encryption solutions.
45% of respondents rated unified key management across both multiple clouds and enterprise environments as very important or important. Encryption keys for cloud services, including Bring Your Own Key (BYOK), is ranked as the most challenging to manage of all key types, according to the study.
Not only is key management increasingly complex, but simply knowing where organizational data resides across on-premise, virtual, cloud and hybrid environments is an ongoing issue. 65% of organizations report discovering where sensitive data resides continues to be, by far, the top challenge in planning and executing a methodical encryption strategy.
The rise of hardware security modules (HSMs)
Encryption key generation and management can be more effectively managed with the use of hardware security modules (HSMs). 66% of respondents named HSMs as being paramount to encryption or key management strategies, with projected growth to 77% over the next 12 months.
On top of traditional applications such as TLS/SSL, application encryption and PKI, HSMs are increasingly being used for more modern use cases such as container encryption/signing services, public cloud encryption, secrets management and privileged access management.
The study found that encryption or signing services for containers (40%) are the third most popular use case for HSMs behind application encryption (47%) and TLS/SSL (44%).
Public cloud encryption, including BYOK, is the fourth most popular HSM use case (34%). Of particular note is the use of HSMs with secrets management solutions, which has risen to 7th place on the list of top HSM use cases, and is on the rise, set to grow an estimated 5% over the next 12 months.
Role of IT
Grim said IT is tasked with deploying, tracking and managing encryption and security policy across on-premise, cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid environments, for an expanding array of uses cases, and amidst widening threats.
“Encryption is essential for protecting company and customer data, but managing encryption and protecting the associated secret keys are rising pain points as organizations engage multiple cloud services for critical functions.
“Rising use of HSMs for encryption and key management shows that IT is starting to meet these challenges. Organizations will benefit from a growing ecosystem of integrated solutions for cloud security policy management, secrets management and securing containers and application development to help them bring their crypto into the light and under control,” he concluded.