Email encryption is a “critical” or “very important” business priority for 53 percent of organizations, despite only being used “extensively” by 40 percent of organizations. The findings, published in a market research survey on behalf of Echoworx by Osterman Research, suggest the technology’s stock among business leaders is increasing, but perception issues over ease of use still remain.
The study, titled “Enterprise Encryption and Authentication Usage: A Survey Report,” polled the views of almost 165 IT decision makers and influencers, managing on average 14,000 email users per organization, to assess the adoption of encryption in the context of email, file sharing and other communication modes used to share sensitive and confidential records. More than half of the respondents (53 percent) considered email encryption a priority, up almost 10 percent in 2015.
However, the findings also revealed that encryption is not used as often as it should be. Only two in five (40 percent) organizations reported “extensive” use of encryption. When asked why the barriers are preventing more widespread use of the technology, more than half (53 percent) of respondents said “asking too much of the email recipients,” indicating that ease of use for both senders and receivers is still a major issue for businesses.
“Despite the necessity of encryption and the benefits it offers, there is still the common misconception that the technology is suited for only the technically savvy,” said Jacob Ginsberg, Senior Director at Echoworx. “The challenge in the security industry today is that despite the ever more complex threat vector, solutions must remain dead simple to use. Human nature is to look for the easiest path to accomplish a task, and that path also must be the most secure. Creating more efficient, easy-to-use, cloud-based encryption systems will help drive adoption forward.”
Data breaches across the globe are expected to increase in frequency and severity this year. According to the latest statistics from the Breach Level Index, six billion data records have been lost or stolen since 2013. Over half of these occurred in the US and over 84 million in Canada, with the technology industry targeted the most frequently. The same index found that only four percent of breaches were “secure breaches” where encryption had been used rendering the stolen data useless.
“Unfortunately, the nuts and bolts of cyber security are still not understood, or in most cases, simply ignored,” said Ginsberg. Data breaches are inevitable and companies will continue to be hacked. The worry is that many organizations still remain reactive to cyber security, waiting until their reputation is questioned or legislations forces them to act. Encryption reduces vulnerabilities and allows individuals to stay one step ahead if a security lapse occurs.”
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