A new Thales e-Security study of more than 5,000 IT professionals indicated the use of encryption continues to grow in response to cyber attacks, privacy compliance regulations and consumer concerns.
The "2016 Global Encryption Trends Study," released during this week's RSA Conference in San Francisco, revealed the majority of organizations plan to transfer sensitive data to the cloud within the next two years.
In addition, the study showed:
- 56 percent of respondents said they are transferring sensitive or confidential data to the cloud, and this figure is expected to rise to 84 percent within two years.
- Support for both cloud and on-premise deployment was rated the most important consideration when deploying encryption solutions.
- Employee and HR data was the most commonly encrypted data.
- The number one perceived threat to data exposure was employee mistakes, followed by system or application malfunction rather than external attack or malicious insiders.
"As businesses increasingly turn to cloud services, we're seeing a rapid rise in sensitive or confidential data being transferred to the cloud and yet only a third of respondents had an overall, consistently applied encryption strategy," Peter Galvin, Thales' vice president of strategy, said in a prepared statement. "Encryption is now widely accepted as best-practice for protecting data, and a good encryption strategy depends on well-implemented encryption and proper key management."
The study also highlighted an increasing push for data protection.
However, Thales noted that awareness alone is insufficient, and organizations must devote the necessary time and resources to identify and minimize IT security threats consistently.
"Awareness is just the first step towards safeguarding sensitive or confidential information," Thales wrote in a blog post. "Once you know the information that needs protecting – and where it is located – placing well-implemented encryption, with strong key management, at the heart of your security strategy will help keep sensitive data safe."