Disk Encryption a Priority for Businesses

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

A survey finds that more than two in five respondents are interested in biometrics for network access control.

As data protection mandates become stricter and high-profile instances of data loss proliferate in the media, a survey of more than 360 attendees at Infosecurity Europe 2011 found that two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) hold disk encryption to be an IT security priority. The survey also found that more than two in five respondents (42 percent) are interested in biometrics for network access control.

"In recent months we have witnessed a steady stream of high-profile hacks at large organizations where sensitive data has been compromised. Businesses are seeing these attacks, as well as the major financial and reputational damage that they cause, and are realizing the importance of protecting their own data wherever it resides," said Jim Fulton, vice president of marketing at authentication and endpoint security provider DigitalPersona, which conducted the study.

Fulton said although it’s encouraging that most businesses are making encryption a priority, it’s vital that they understand how to implement it effectively, and given the proliferation of devices these days, with notebooks outselling desktop computers, it’s pointless only to encrypt centrally held data.

"It’s simply not enough to protect sensitive and confidential information in one place if you’re going to ignore all the copies and pieces of data that are replicated on devices across the business," he said. "While large enterprises may have the resources to implement effective and comprehensive disk encryption on all devices, smaller organizations have traditionally reported difficulty finding encryption that is affordable and easy to implement."

Survey results indicated security-conscious organizations are increasingly recognizing that traditional authentication factors are simply not secure enough to protect against today’s threats. Fulton noted the results of the study concerning biometric technology, which he said has really matured in the last couple of years, to the extent that it is an affordable, reliable and efficient means of ensuring that only legitimate users can access networks, devices or data.

"No longer prohibitively expensive, biometrics now enable small to medium-size businesses to implement robust, enterprise-grade authentication, without the complexity and inconvenience of token-based systems—a fact recognized by almost half of our respondents," he said.