Cloud adoption and escalating threats accelerate encryption deployments, finds latest Thales Global Encryption Study

For the first time business unit leaders break through as top encryption strategy influencers


Thales, a leader in critical information systems, cybersecurity and data security, announces the results of its 2017 Global Encryption Trends Study. The report, based on independent research by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Thales, captures how organizations around the world are dealing with compliance, increased threats, and the implementation of encryption to protect their most sensitive data.


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The report reveals enterprises have accelerated adoption of encryption strategies, with 41 percent of respondents saying their organization has an encryption strategy applied consistently across the enterprise. Notably, for the first time in the study’s 12-year history, business unit leaders have a higher influence over encryption strategy than IT operations. Other critical findings demonstrate organizations continue to show a preference for control over encryption and key management when those activities migrate to the cloud.


Protecting data at rest in the cloud:

  • 67 percent of respondents take one of two routes: they either perform encryption on premise prior to sending data to the cloud, or encrypt in the cloud using keys they generate and manage on premises
  • 37 percent said their organizations turn over complete control of keys and encryption processes to cloud providers


Other key findings:

  • 31 percent are currently using or planning to use Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) with Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) deployments, with 20 percent claiming the same for Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) deployments. Overall, usage of HSMs with CASBs is expected to double in the next 12 months (from 12 percent to 24 percent)
  • Use of HSMs among organizations grew to its highest level ever, at 38 percent; of those respondents, 48 percent own and operate HSMs on-premise in support of cloud-based applications
  • At 55 percent, compliance is the top driver for encryption – followed closely by protecting enterprise intellectual property (51 percent), customer information protection (49 percent) and protection from external threats (49 percent)


Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of The Ponemon Institute, says, “The accelerated growth of encryption strategies in business underscores the proliferation of mega breaches and cyberattacks, as well as the need to protect a broadening range of sensitive data types. Simply put, the stakes are too high for organizations to stand by and wait for an attack to happen to them before introducing a sophisticated data protection strategy. Encryption and key management continue to play critical roles in these strategies.”


John Grimm, senior director of security strategy at Thales e-Security, says, “This year’s findings align with key trends demonstrating an increased reliance on the cloud, ever-evolving internal and external threats, and new data sources mandating stronger protection. The survey further reinforces that cloud key management offerings are more important than ever – and business-leader involvement is crucial to a sound security strategy. Thales is attuned to this development, and to its customers’ need for strong and flexible safeguards for the cloud. Recently, for example, we announced integrations with AWS, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce cloud platforms. Our support encompasses BYOK, key management as a service (KMaaS) and RESTful API use cases, with additional collaborations on the way.”


The Global Encryption Trends Study is now in its twelfth year. The Ponemon Institute surveyed more than 5,000 people across multiple industry sectors in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Mexico, India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


The new 2017 Global Encryption Trends Study can be downloaded for free at: https://gets.thalesesecurity.com