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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.