Thales reports cryptography playing crucial role in compliance

The survey, which took in responses from around 500 audit professionals on both sides of the Atlantic, found that cryptography plays a key role in the audit and governance function on both sides of the public/private sector divide.

The research for the report was carried out by the Ponemon Institute for Thales and found that 71% of auditors surveyed believe that an organisation's information assets cannot be fully protected, even within the corporate boundary, without the use of cryptography.

Eighty-one percent of respondents said they believed that sensitive or confidential data should be encrypted whenever practical.

Business confidential information, health information and financial or accounting information and payment transactions (including credit cards), meanwhile, were considered the most important types of information to encrypt.

According to Thales, the findings support the use of hardware security modules (HSMs) to ease these key management challenges and achieve compliance.

Sixty-eight percent of the auditors responded that the use of HSMs for encryption and key management reduces the time spent on demonstrating compliance with privacy and data protection requirements.

This compares to 63% when the Ponemon Institute asked the same question of more than 200 PCI DSS auditors (QSAs) a year ago.

Commenting on the results, Dr. Larry Ponemon, the chairman of the Ponemon Institute, said that the use of encryption to protect data is now past the point of debate, everyone is using it and this report corroborates this.

"However, the question to be addressed now is how, when and where to deploy the technology. The research indicates that there are indeed genuine areas of uncertainty when deploying encryption, particularly arising from the numerous business drivers and diverse compliance requirements", he said.

"What organisations now need to do is ensure they adopt a strategic approach, proactively identifying and then following best practice when deploying cryptography to ensure they not only meet compliance around data protection but they also serve their wider security and operational needs", he added.

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