The state of encryption in Europe.

Author:Midgley, Stephen
Position:Infosecurity Europe 2010

The increasingly mobile nature of data has resulted in growing pressures on IT departments. There was a time, not too long ago, when data was secured primarily due to the physical security of the building where it was located. Now, with the ubiquitous use of laptops and handheld devices, a secure physical environment, while requisite, is no longer sufficient.

As we enter a new decade, IT departments are faced with a proverbial "perfect storm" when it comes to securing data. Departments are dealing with reduced operating budgets resulting in them having to do more with less. There is a growing movement from various levels of government to regulate the security of data, such as the recent announcement by the UK Ministry of Justice that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) would have the power to organisations up to [pounds sterling]500,000 for serious breaches of data protection principles. The European Council has approved a data breach notification rule for Europe's telecommunications firms. This amendment to an EU Directive will force telcos to inform customers if they lose their data. The growing enactment of regulatory legislation related to the securing of data will force the hand of corporations to establish necessary processes to ensure the integrity of data. To not do so could result in them being subject to significant negative financial and reputational repercussions if a data breach were to occur. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach to an organisation in the UK is [pounds sterling]1.7 million, while in Germany it is [euro]2.41 million.

Along with reduced operating budgets and growing government legislation, the general public has become acutely aware (and concerned) about the security of their personal data as the instances of lapses in data security continue to increase. In fact, according to the ICO, the number of recorded data breaches in the UK increased by nearly 65% last year over the previous year.

And finally, there is growing mobility of the workforce--from people travelling with their data to people telecommuting from their homes. According to the Ponemon Institute, over 3,500 laptops go missing every week in European airports. That's one laptop every three minutes. While mobility creates business opportunities, it has accelerated the use of corporate owned devices outside of the traditional workplace. Especially as more and more employees work from "home offices". The result is...

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