Data leak highlights flaws

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Data leak highlights flaws

Simon Quicke

With the latest high-profile data leak of the HMRC's missing data discs illustrating the need for greater security, more focus will inevitably shift to encryption.

According to a recent survey by Check Point, only around half of IT managers surveyed had encryption.

"It's worrying that the majority of firms feel they are safe against data loss. Over half of our survey sample do not have the basic security measures in place to stop the type of employee behaviour that caused the leak at HMRC," said Nick Lowe, regional director for Northern Europe at Check Point.

Part of the indifferent attitude to encryption is fuelled by the view most IT managers hold that if their network is secure there is no need to increase the security around the data flowing across it.

"They think that if they protect the network, the content and the information and if no-one can gain access to it then is there really a need for encryption," said Peter Groucutt, founder and managing director at DataBarracks.

But he added that there was increasing evidence that the government's problems were not one-offs but similar crises could be prevented with encryption.

He added that the irony was that most companies at the forefront of embracing encryption had been put under pressure by government departments, including HMRC, to make sure data was protected.

Matt Fisher, vice-president at Centennial Software, said resistance to encryption was often based on an outdated belief that it was expensive and complex.

"Encryption is easy these days but you need to go a step further and think about what devices and media data can be copied on," he said.

In the immediate aftermath of the disclosure that data of 25 million people had gone missing, the channel was expected to take advantage of the media storm to sell security and storage solutions (MicroScope 26 November).

With a fair amount of security sold in the wake of the scandal, those expectations of strong associated security sales continue to concentrate focus.

"It's definitely a good time to promote encryption solutions. But the loss or theft of confidential data is nothing new, neither are the encryption products which can protect that data," said Richard Stone, vice president of marketing at Credant Technologies.

One source said the challenge for resellers next year would be to break down the barriers blocking more adoption of encryption. Mike Howse, EMEA managing director at Protegrity, said emphasis had to be put on data protection rather than scare tactics.

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