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RSA Conference Survey Reveals Growing Concern over Privacy

RSA Conference Survey Reveals Growing Concern over Privacy

February 28, 2017 | Eva Hanscom

Encryption has always been at the center of the debate over the relative values of data privacy vs. security. However, no matter how many arguments we throw at it, the issue surrounding encryption isn’t getting any clearer. In fact, as time goes on, the dichotomy of this dispute is becoming even more muddled. And our most pressing questions remain unanswered. When does regulation override the rights of a user? How can we have robust surveillance without impacting the overall security of devices and organizations? 

In 2016, the Apple and FBI backdoor controversy threw these questions to the forefront of the information security industry. One year later, the dust still hasn’t settled. In fact, we have a bit of a dust storm. The U.S. has a new administration that has yet to articulate a cyber security policy. This has resulted in controversies centering around encryption, which is a valuable tool for many government employees working in the White House, but can result in data leaks.

Given its prevalence in the news, encryption remained a major topic of conversation at RSA, one of largest security tradeshows in the world. This year at RSA, Venafi wanted to check the pulse of security professionals to see how they were feeling about privacy in the wake of recent global political changes. So, we conducted a survey that collected responses from over 1500 security professionals attending the conference.

Interesting highlights from the survey included the following:

  • Recent geo-political changes have made 75% of the respondents personally more concerned about privacy.
    • In addition, 71% said their organisation is more concerned about data privacy concerns too.
  • Changes in the political landscape are also driving the use of encryption: two thirds (66%) of security professionals said their organization has considered expanding its use of encryption as a result.
  • Finally, 73% of the respondents are more concerned about encryption backdoors today than they were a year ago.

“Encryption plays a fundamental role in data privacy, whether it’s protecting data from hackers or governments,” Paul Turner, CTO of Server Products for Venafi. “The challenges organizations already face in managing and securing encryption keys, combined with concerns about the integrity and strength of encryption implementations, is undermining confidence in the privacy and security of data.”

On the RSA show floor this year, it was encryption everywhere. Vendors, attendees and keynote speakers all discussed its growing importance. Geo-politics may evolve over the coming years, but encryption will remain a valuable tool in our industry and beyond.

“The tension between data privacy and national security is going to continue to escalate,” Jeff Hudson, CEO for Venafi. “Encryption is the lynchpin of our entire global digital economy. It controls the privacy and security of everything from our personal photos to the most sensitive national security data. Our collective ability to secure encrypted data has a profound impact on digital privacy and trust around the world.”

Are you more concerned about privacy now than you were a year ago? 

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About the author

Eva Hanscom
Eva Hanscom

Eva Hanscom writes for Venafi's blog and is an expert in machine identity protection.

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