After a decade of false starts, encryption technology is taking hold across mobile devices and cloud computing. The big question: Can traditional enterprise networks and on-premises data centers keep pace with the fast-rising encryption trend?
During the 1990s, encryption often was considered too complex or too expensive to deploy companywide. Fast forward to the present, and encryption is top-of-mind at this week's RSA Conference -- a major security industry gathering in San Francisco.
Several factors have triggered an encryption renaissance. They include:
1. Seemingly Endless Breaches: For starters, businesses and cloud companies increasingly fear hackers, cybersecurity breaches and government-sponsored attacks. A seemingly endless stream of hacks -- involving Anthem, Home Depot, Sony, Staples and Target, just to name a few -- has made IT security a front-of-mind concern for businesses, governments and consumers.
2. Privacy Concerns: The Edward Snowden NSA leaks, the hack of Apple iCloud accounts containing celebrity photos, and Sony documents spilling onto the web have finally made online privacy a national and global discussion point.
3. Technology Triple Play: Low-cost cloud services coupled with nearly ubiquitous wireless services and mobile devices have created a perfect storm of innovation. Now, those innovations are spilling over into the software market where encryption is finding its way onto mobile devices and into cloud data centers.
A few recent examples:
- Both Apple iOS and Google Android have made encryption a key priority without forcing the technology onto customers.
- The email encryption market will grow more than 20 percent annually from 2015 to 2019. Most major cloud email providers have introduced or will soon introduce encryption -- a reality that triggered a war of words between Yahoo and the NSA.
- Microsoft Office 365 just gained encryption technology called Customer Lockbox. Most major cloud-based file sync and sharing services now have encryption options. Building on that trend, Blackberry this week acquired WatchDox.
Encryption and Corporate Systems
The big question going forward: Will on-premises networks and corporate data centers increasingly adopt encryption, too? The answer is a qualified yes.
A respectable 34 percent of organizations use encryption extensively, according to a new Global Encryption and Key Management Trends Report from Thales and Ponemon. The report and other market researchers suggest that the encryption market continues to enjoy rapid growth.
Global revenue for hardware encryption technology is expected to reach $166.67 billion by 2018 -- representing a 62 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013, according to Markets and Markets. Take a closer look, and hardware encryption applications in the military, defense and aerospace (MDA) applications sector will see strong demand, the research suggests.
The bottom line: Encryption technology is now widely available for cloud, mobile and broadband technologies. In some ways, enterprise networks are playing catchup. But at least they're finally in the game.