Why encryption comes of age

Opinion by Kevin Percy

Over the past few years, the IT market has become commoditised, dominated by the larger distributors.

Over the past few years, the IT market has become commoditised, dominated by the larger distributors.

Increasingly, these distributors are focusing on growing existing revenue and relationships, leaving  little or no room in their portfolios for new and innovative technologies. As a result, many resellers are simply not getting the attention and prominence they deserve.

This is unfortunate as it is often the smaller, more nimble resellers that are better prepared to take on new technologies and beat a path to exciting new markets for innovative vendors.

Today, many resellers are now looking for ways to not only increase their margins but to differentiate themselves. Rather than looking at all-in-one, big-ticket security solutions from distributors, they are now considering best-of-breed technologies from pure-play vendors.

For example, many top-tier resellers including Insight, Phoenix Software, Storm Technologies, Probrand and MSS UK have recently signed deals with DESlock to take our encryption product to market.

Education is critical

Market demand for encryption technology is definitely on the increase. In data leakage, which is the area I look at for technology developments, human error is still one of the biggest factors causing data problems, and as a result, I would say that there is still a lot of education needed on how companies and individuals use encryption.

Encryption should be part of every organisation's security strategy, and I believe there is a job for resellers and vendors to educate, evangelise and demonstrate the benefits.

Despite the obvious benefits, some organisations still don't fully understand how encryption works and why they might need it. Organisations often believe they don't really need encryption because employees don't have access to certain parts of the network. But confidential or highly sensitive information of any nature should always be encrypted, as you have no idea where a threat may come from.

It's also important to understand that once encryption is installed, it won't have any impact on day-to-day operations – just like anti-virus, encryption runs in the background. Many people fear being locked out of important documents because they can't remember the encryption key, but in reality, this doesn't happen. The individual files and the hard disk drive are encrypted just once, and the user has their own key, therefore it is highly unlikely that this would create a problem.

Encryption – the ‘new' anti-virus

Despite the need for more education, encryption is fast becoming the new anti-virus and we are beginning to witness better adoption. Organisations don't want to compromise on security, however many of the so-called ‘all-in-one' security solutions from some of the larger technology vendors have encryption bundled into their offering as an add-on.

More often than not, though, this bundled encryption isn't as functionally rich as pure-play encryption products and doesn't fulfil the organisation's security needs. With web filtering, firewalls, backup, anti-virus and encryption all bundled together in one product, typically the encryption technology is very basic.

IT managers then don't use the encryption technology because it doesn't deliver what they need. Or, if they prefer to use a more functionally rich encryption solution, they have to convince their organisation to invest in a new product – when it believes to have already done just that.

Choosing an all-in-one solution, when the encryption aspect of the product is not functionally rich, presents a false economy because it costs more in the long run. Replacing technology means you'll end up paying for it twice.

Public-sector demand

Increased legislation and regulatory requirements are also driving demand for encryption, especially from public-sector organisations, where we are seeing a lot of take-up for our product. Again, here the encryption aspects of an all-in-one solution may struggle to meet the robust criteria for many government and public-sector tenders, which is why best-of-breed-style technologies are winning against some pretty tough competition.

As more and more organisations turn to mobile devices and laptops, the risk of data leakage will only increase. The only way to get around this problem is to encrypt your data. The good news is that pure-play encryption technology provides comprehensive protection that is simple to install, cost-effective and easy to use for any organisation.

Kevin Percy is UK business development director at DESlock

DESlock is exhibiting at Infosecurity Europe 2013, held on 23rd – 25th April 2013 at Earl's Court, London. The event provides an unrivalled free education programme, exhibitors showcasing new and emerging technologies and offering practical and professional expertise. For further information please visit www.infosec.co.uk


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