Hong Kong still outruns world in firm-wide encryption

Hong Kong
Image courtesy of Dan Freeman

Security and IT professionals in Hong Kong continue to outpace the global average when it comes to the adoption of enterprise-wide encryption, with particular focus on cloud services and applications, as well as containers, according to the Ponemon Institute.

Findings of the Entrust 2021 Hong Kong Encryption Trends Study show that 54% of respondents in Hong Kong now have a consistently applied encryption plan/strategy, well ahead of the global average (50%) for the second year running. 

Also for the second straight year in Hong Kong, the biggest threats that might result in the exposure of sensitive data were employee mistakes (47% vs. 53% globally) and system or process malfunction, which increased from 30% to 36% (vs. 31% globally).

Currently, around three-in-five (59%) organisations surveyed in Hong Kong transfer data to the cloud. This is up from 55% last year, but is expected to surge with an additional 24% planning to do so in the next 12-24 months. 

Similarly, just over half of organisations surveyed deploy encryption for public cloud services (51% vs. 46% globally) and Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) management support was cited as the fastest growing feature of cloud encryption solutions by 53%, up from 48% last year.

Further, nearly half (47%) of responding IT professionals in Hong Kong deploy encryption for containers, the highest rate worldwide, up from 40% last year and far above the global average of 32%.

“As they strive to protect customer information and intellectual property and to comply with data privacy mandates, organisations on average now use more than eight different products that perform encryption,” said Michael Tai, area VP for Greater China at Entrust.

“This brings new challenges associated with discovering where sensitive data resides, deploying encryption technology and training users to use encryption appropriately,” said Tai.

For Hong Kong IT professionals, the pain associated with key management is increasing, with two-thirds reporting a high rate of overall pain associated with managing keys or certificates. This is up from 61% last year and higher than this year’s global average of 56%.

Similar to last year, the top factor driving this is “no clear ownership” (74% vs. 64% globally), with inadequate key management tools in second place (58% vs. 46% globally).

Another factor to consider is the lower rates of hardware security module (HSM) adoption, with  40% of respondent organizations in Hong Kong using HSMs (vs. 49% globally).