Businesses still failing to encrypt sensitive data

Sixty per cent of large businesses do not adequately secure data leaving their organisation.

Too few European businesses are bothering to encrypt their emails despite the risk of confidential information going astray, research has shown.

Questions put to senior IT managers in the UK, Spain, France and Germany by research company Vanson Bourne on behalf of security vendor Tumbleweed shows that 13 per cent of respondents admitted that unauthorised confidential information had left their organisations within the last year.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The study shows the 'alarming nonchalance' of businesses towards the growing problem of data breaches.

"Encryption is key for all internet communications but even more so in the outbound stream with employees, unwittingly or otherwise, sending sensitive information across open and vulnerable networks," says Soeren Bech, EMEA business director for Tumbleweed.

The problem remains acute, despite increasing awareness among businesses of the risk, says Bech. He says the research reveals that the transmitting of confidential data is ranked top email security concern by 39 per cent of respondents, with personal use and abuse of email rating a close second with 32 per cent.

Some 36 per cent of those surveyed rated bad publicity as a particularly painful consequence of a data breach, while 26 per cent listed fines or lawsuits on their list of concerns. However 59 per cent of those not already using encryption said that they did not see the business need to do so.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"There is still significant work to be done to educate businesses on the threats posed by data breaches," says Bech. Only in the financial services sector, he says, do the majority of organisations, 59 per cent, encrypt outbound email as a matter of course.

"Despite the many high profile incidents recently across Europe of these types of data breaches and the negative impact they have had on an organisation's reputation, it is alarming that our findings show so many organisations are not taking the 'threat from within' seriously," he warns.

The threat of poorly secured messaging goes well beyond impact on reputation, says Nancy Cox, an analyst with Ferris Research.

"IT messaging managers must navigate a maze of laws and regulations governing the treatment of email and other types of electronic communication," she says. "Don't forget that various regulatory bodies, as well as international and regional governments, have different requirements for handling electronic content. Compliance with those regulations, particularly Sarbanes-Oxley, impact all IT managers."

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now



University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020
Policy & legislation

Senators propose a bill aimed at ending warrant-proof encryption

24 Jun 2020

Most Popular


How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020

The road to recovery

30 Jun 2020

The growing case for IT flexibility

30 Jun 2020