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Encryption: How Prevalent Is It?

Many companies have reassessed their technology initiatives in the month since the tragic attacks on the United States.
Many companies have reassessed their technology initiatives in the month since the tragic attacks on the United States. Some are focusing on security measures for IT systems while others are deepening efforts to secure facilities and intellectual property. Encryption technologies are being used to protect electronically transmitted data as well as information that's stored or archived.

According to InformationWeek Research's 2001 Global Information Security Survey, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 24% of companies worldwide and 27% in the United States are encrypting data for transmission or storage.

How's It Used

To learn more about encryption practices, InformationWeek Research fielded a national survey this summer with the President's Export Council Subcommittee on Encryption. Of the 500 sites surveyed, two-thirds report using encryption to protect company data. Of those sites using encryption technologies, 71% are strongly committed to data encryption, while 21% are somewhat committed.

Of the 500 companies surveyed, 43% use encryption on both stored and transmitted data. More than three out of five companies encrypt due to the threat of outsiders intercepting sensitive data.

Of sites that actively encrypt data files, most consider it a standard business practice. More than half use encryption technology to deter hackers; another one in four companies are responding to customer or competitive pressures for increased security. At 28% of sites surveyed, government regulation requires encryption of stored and transmitted data.

While encryption deters some hacking and espionage, the complexity of the technology is an obstacle for 38% of companies, while lack of skilled IT personnel and budget limitations prevent some businesses from using the technology.

How valuable is encryption to your company's security strategy? Let us know at the address below.

Lisa Boomer-Smith
Managing Editor, Research
[email protected]


Sensitive MaterialTargeted Information
Growing security and privacy issues are forcing many companies to evaluate encryption policies and protocols. According to recent

research by InformationWeek Research and the President's Export Council Subcommittee on Encryption, 68% of companies surveyed use encryption to protect sensitive business data.

Two out of five companies protect all data that's stored or transmitted, but many others shield data selectively. Financial

data files, for example, are encrypted at 56% of sites surveyed. Two out of five companies encrypt their personnel files and executive-level correspondence. Customer and competitive intelligence also are high on the list of protected data.

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