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Recent hacker exploits at companies and government organizations like Lockheed Martin, Sony PlayStation, GMail and the Canadian Government lead one to the conclusion that once a computer system is attached to a network, it really can’t be 100% safe.
The Ponemon Institute reports that in 2010 88 percent of organizations report having at least one data breach. 25 percent of organizations actually have five or more data breaches occur during 2010. The report points to a significant correlation between the increased number of data breaches and the increased use of mobile and remote access to computer systems.
The statistics are sobering, but in an increasingly interconnected world, cutting off access from all networks doesn’t seem to be a viable solution, at least for most organizations and projects.
In an effort to fight back, a second wall of defense if being put up at many organization — encryption. Even if if the first layer of computer access is penetrated, encrypted data will be useless to any hacker. The adoption of encryption is growing along with the scope of the data that is being encrypted. 84 percent of companies now say that they encrypt some portion of the data that they maintain.
Among the organizations using encryption, Ponemon found that the breakdown of the types of encryption is being used across organizations is as follows:
- 62 percent encrypt their file servers
- 59 percent are doing full-disk encryption
- 57 percent are using database encryption
- 50 percent are encrypting emails
When organizations investigate encryption that two main criteria guide their purchase: performance and easy deployment. 41 percent of organization say that they are using a combination of hardware and software encryption. But to address performance, hardware-based solutions, like self-encrypting hard disks are becoming popular. Organization generally thought that hardware solutions were more secure and more performant than software-based ones.