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Everything should be encrypted, right?

Security's magic bullet

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Workshop Poll Here's the perfect plan to solve all those pesky security problems. Confidentiality and data leakage, secure backups, individual privacy, data integrity, identity and access management - all can be dealt with in some way by encryption. So why don't we all just use it then, and be done?

Of course encryption is out there, embedded in various technologies – every time we see the key in the browser status bar, open a VPN connection or send a signed email, we're using encryption. But there's a massive gulf between this, embedded use and the broader potential for in-your-face, soup-to-nuts data encryption. For example, we have the fact that while hard disk encryption is now available on a variety of desktop and server platforms, it has yet to see widespread deployment outside of certain verticals.

We could have a stab at why this is, but we'd prefer to know what's really behind this absence and we're sure you would too. So, if you have an opinion on data encryption, what's missing and what might change this, please do take five minutes to fill in our short poll. We'd appreciate it and we'll let you know the answers by return.

READER POLL: DATA ENCRYPTION – ARE YOU USING IT?

1. Which of the following drivers are likely to influence your organisation when it comes to requirements for encrypting data? (1-5 scale where 5 = major driver, 1 = no effect).

  Major driver
5
4 3 2 No effect
1
Regulatory reasons, eg PCI compliance
Responding to a security breach
Storing increasing amounts of sensitive/confidential data
Increasingly mobile business workforce
Other (please specify)

2. In an ideal world, which of the following do you think should be encrypted and to what degree?

  Everything Selected systems Exceptional cases only N/A
Data stored on centralised systems and storage
Data stored on remote and branch servers/storage infrastructure
Data stored on desktops/notebooks at central corporate locations
Data stored on desktops/notebooks in remote/branch locations
Data stored on desktops/notebooks used in home locations
Data stored on notebooks used by mobile workers
Data stored on smartphones and other portable/handheld devices
Data stored by users on removable media eg USB drives, CDs, DVDs, etc
Backups onto tape or optical disk which may be stored offsite
Other (please specify)

3. Which of the following are currently encrypted in your organisation and to what degree?

  Everything Selected systems Exceptional cases only N/A
Data stored on centralised systems and storage
Data stored on remote and branch servers/storage infrastructure
Data stored on desktops/notebooks at central corporate locations
Data stored on desktops/notebooks in remote/branch locations
Data stored on desktops/notebooks used in home locations
Data stored on notebooks used by mobile workers
Data stored on smartphones and other portable/handheld devices
Data stored by users on removable media eg USB drives, CDs, DVDs, etc
Backups onto tape or optical disk which may be stored offsite
Other (please specify)

4. For each of the following what are the main reasons not to encrypt? (Please tick all that apply for each row or leave row blank if not relevant)

  Cost/priority justification issues Practicalities around implementation Challenges around key management Systems overhead of encryption
Data stored on centralised systems and storage
Data stored on remote and branch servers/storage infrastructure
Data stored on desktops/notebooks at central corporate locations
Data stored on desktops/notebooks in remote/branch locations
Data stored on desktops/notebooks used in home locations
Data stored on notebooks used by mobile workers
Data stored on smartphones and other portable/handheld devices
Data stored by users on removable media eg USB drives, CDs, DVDs, etc
Backups onto tape or optical disk which may be stored offsite
Other (please specify)

5. Who is responsible for data encryption within your organisation?

A Security specialist/group within the IT department
General IT department responsibility
No real ownership, needs dealt with on a case by case basis
No real attention paid to data encryption at all
Other (please specify)

6. Finally, do you have any tips, warnings or horror stories around encryption in general?

 

BEFORE YOU GO

7. Approximately how large is your organisation (worldwide) in terms of employees?

Less than 10 employees
10 to 50 employees
50 to 250 employees
250 to 1,000 employees
1,000 to 5,000 employees
5,000 to 10,000 employees
Over 10,000 employees

8. Which of the following best describes your organisation?

Energy & utilities
Financial services
Healthcare
Hi-tech
Manufacturing
Oil & gas
Pharmaceuticals
Central/local government
Retail & wholesale
Professional services
Telecommunications
Travel & transportation
Other (please specify)

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