Many decision makers in the UK don't fully understand encryption

Especially among healthcare and retail industries.

Here’s an interesting prospect. In a time when data theft is business as usual, and when everyone is worried about (foreign) state agencies spying on them, a quarter of tech senior decision makers in the UK “don’t fully understand what encryption is”. 

I’ve intentionally quoted that last part because it sounds so inconceivable. Yet, encryption software company PKWARE released a new report that says just that. It’s based on a poll of 250 senior technology decision-makers.  

In the retail and healthcare sector, the number jumps to 40 per cent, which is even more interesting, knowing that ransomware, malware which encrypts data, usually targets healthcare institutions. Overall, half (50 per cent) of respondents said they encrypt their customer data. 

Forty per cent said they agree with the Investigatory Powers Bill (known as the Snooper’s Charter), which would allow government agencies to bypass encryption.  “These results are mind boggling,” said Miller Newton, CEO of PKWARE. 

“It’s hard to believe how many companies are still scraping by with such lax security when handling their customers’ valuable data. Just being compliant with basic security regulations isn’t enough anymore. As demonstrated by numerous high profile cyber-attacks, organisations need to encrypt their data and have foolproof security measures in place.” 

Less than half of IT decision makers train their staff for cybersecurity, while 40 per cent implement a clean desk policy. Such a policy does not require an investment, PKWARE stresses. Just above a third (35 per cent) of ITDMs think their staff knows enough about cybersecurity and encryption to avoid being attacked. 

Image Credit: Yuri Samoilov / Flickr