Encryption Use Increases in Australia as Organisations Focus on Specific Threat Vectors, Reveals Entrust 2021 Australia Encryption Trends Study

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Conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the 16th annual study highlights that Australia outpaces global average encryption adoption, and other key trends in encryption and cybersecurity

MELBOURNE — May 12, 2021 — The adoption of encryption in Australia continues to outpace global averages, with employee mistakes seen as the top threat to sensitive data. This and other findings are highlighted in the Entrust 2021 Australia Encryption Trends study, the sixteenth annual multinational survey by the Ponemon Institute reporting on the cybersecurity challenges organisations face today, and how and why organisations deploy encryption.

Identified threats and priorities
Continuing a five-year growth trend, 54% of respondents in Australia now have a consistently applied encryption plan, ahead of the global average, which reached 50% for the first time in this year’s study. The study found that the top driver for encrypting data in Australia is to protect information against specific, identified threats (63% of respondents, vs. the global average of 50% and up from 50% in Australia last year). The next highest driver was to comply with external privacy or data security regulations and requirements: (52%, down from 57% last year).

Similarly, respondent organisations in Australia encrypt several data types at higher rates than the global averages with intellectual property (62% vs. 48% globally) topping the list. Next is employee/HR data (60% vs. 48% globally), payment related data (60% vs. 53% globally) and customer information (54% vs. 42% globally), all of which continue a four-year trend above global averages.

The complexity of managing encryption and keys in 2021
Clearly this approach is paying dividends, with just 34% of Australian respondents reporting that they have experienced a data breach, compared to the global average of 44%. However, organisations have increasingly diverse encryption technology needs in order to protect a wide range of data.

There are several different applications where you can use encryption – indeed, large organisations might use as many as 15 different applications. The predominant use cases are the mature and easy-to-use ones – backup and archive, database encryption, and laptop hard disk encryption. However, as use cases proliferate, the complexity of managing different encryption technologies increases. This leads to errors in manual administration of these critical encryption keys, as highlighted by the fact that nearly 60% of respondents rate encryption key management as very painful. The top reasons cited for this pain are lack of skilled personnel and inadequate key management tools.

The growing role of hardware security modules (HSMs)
Encryption key generation and management can be more effectively managed with the use of hardware security modules (HSMs), and their adoption is continuing with 42% of respondent organisations in Australia using them. Furthermore, they report that the importance of HSMs to their encryption or key management strategy will increase from 73% to 83% over the next 12 months.

“With organisations in Australia increasing their use of the cloud, containers and IoT platforms, it’s clear that IT and security professionals across the continent strive to defend sensitive data against specific, identified threats, and comply with both internal policies and external data protection mandates,” said Jiro Shindo, Director Digital Security Solutions APAC at Entrust.

“While data encryption helps address these challenges, it also brings its own challenges stemming from inadequate encryption key management tools and skills shortages. Rising use of HSMs for encryption and key management shows that IT is starting to meet these hurdles. Organisations will benefit from a maturing ecosystem of integrated solutions for cloud security policy management, secrets management and securing containers and application development to help them bring their crypto into the light and under control.”

Additional Information:
Report: 2021 Australia Encryption Trends Study
Blog: 2021 Australia Encryption Trends – navigating threats and finding solutions

2021 Global Encryption Trends Study methodology
The 2021 Global Encryption Trends Study, based on research by the Ponemon Institute, captures how organisations around the world are dealing with compliance, increased threats, and the implementation of encryption to protect their business critical information and applications. 6,610 IT professionals were surveyed across multiple industry sectors in 17 countries/regions: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Middle East (which is a combination of respondents located in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Spain, Southeast Asia, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

About Entrust Corporation
Entrust keeps the world moving safely by enabling trusted identities, payments and data protection. Today more than ever, people demand seamless, secure experiences, whether they’re crossing borders, making a purchase, accessing e-government services or logging into corporate networks. Entrust offers an unmatched breadth of digital security and credential issuance solutions at the very heart of all these interactions. With more than 2,500 colleagues, a network of global partners, and customers in over 150 countries, it’s no wonder the world’s most entrusted organizations trust us. For more information, visit www.entrust.com.