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Friday January 17th 2014 | 10:46

The Year of Encryption? What 2014 will mean for data security

Labelled by many as ‘The Year of Encryption’, 2014 is expected to see unprecedented growth in the cybersecurity market, in particular in the area of data encryption.
 
Major developments over the last 12 months have propelled encryption to the forefront of public debate and business agendas. While some of these events were expected (for example, the LIBE Committee’s vote on the European Data Protection Regulation reforms), some were less so – namely Edward Snowden’s revelations made to the international press regarding the extent of the US Government’s data surveillance programme (PRISM). This latter development sparked international concerns and debate, and has prompted some of the largest email providers, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, to pledge the provision of encryption services for their users.
 
At Egress, we have witnessed the noticeable changes wrought on the cybersecurity market by the events of 2013, and have analysed some of the effects they will have during 2014.
 
Putting encryption on the map
Prior to 2013, encryption was often seen as a topic confined to those in the public sector, in particular Central Government, where a data breach could have implications for individual and national security. However, Snowden’s revelations have forced organisations of all sizes and across all industries to recognise the importance of encryption.
 
One repercussion was the extensive examination of the US Patriots Act – a topic we discussed here. Created in the wake of 9/11, the Patriots Act gave the US Government wide-ranging jurisdiction over data connected to the US, which has consequently led many business leaders to scrutinise the impact that geographical location, and the laws that subsequently apply to it, has on their data.
 
A newfound interest
So, while 2013 turned the spotlight on encryption and cybersecurity, it is likely that 2014 will see a refinement of that interest. Undoubtedly there will be an increase in the number of encryption options making their way to market; however if Snowden has taught us anything, it is that rigorous assessment is imperative (for example, examining the industry accreditations achieved by individual products – such as CESG’s Commercial Product Assurance programme).
 
Moreover, with budget restrictions continuing across all sectors, efficiency will provide a strong driving force for the market. Business heads will be required to put together a solid business case to support their preferred solution, demonstrating that not only does it provide comprehensive security but is also responsive to an organisation’s changing needs. In addition, ability to integrate with existing infrastructure and business processes will be of the utmost importance, as cybersecurity must enhance workflow rather than hindering it.
 
The vendors of these solutions, meanwhile, will have to remain agile to the market’s need as organisations explore their differing and evolving requirements. At Egress, in particular, we have already broadened our offering of encryption services, and will continue to do so throughout 2014. 
 
Thus although born largely of controversy, this newfound interest in data encryption will have a positive impact on the cybersecurity market, refining the options available to organisations based on their own further scrutiny of data encryption. 

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