Mark Hickman, chief operating officer of WinMagic
Across the Asia Pacific region, data security challenges are skyrocketing, fuelled by current trends such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). According to InformationWeek's 2013 Mobile Security Survey, 78 percent of respondents identified 'lost or stolen devices' as a primary security concern. As lost devices equate to loss of company data (be it sensitive or not), enterprises should invest in data encryption technologies to prevent such information loss, said Mark Hickman, chief operating officer of WinMagic, in an interview. He also talks about the other drivers of data encryption adoption and how enterprises can overcome the obstacles of implementing data encryption solutions.
Q: In light of the incident in which Edward Snowden leaked NSA's spying activities, organisations and consumers are getting more wary about how their data is being stored and used. Is this the only reason for organisations to invest in data encryption solutions?
Mark Hickman: Not at all. The Snowden incident simply put a spotlight on the importance of securing data and it is something many organisations have been doing for quite some time. Globally, there are existing laws and regulations that mandate the security of data whether they are health records, end-user data and more. These regulations are getting stricter about enforcing penalties when a data breach occurs and the data lost wasn't encrypted. We see these types of regulations driving key requirements to encrypt and there are many specific vertical markets like financial and healthcare that are particularly focused on encrypting data as a result.
A 2013 Norton Report found that in Singapore, two in five users in Singapore do not take basic precautions on their mobile devices, such as using passwords, having security software or backing up files on their mobile device. The same report states that the average cost per victim (of cybercrime) in the country rose 75 percent to S$1,448 (US$1,158), four times above the global average cost per victim of US$298. According to analysts, Singapore companies are expected to adopt BYOD more than other countries in the region, thus increasing the importance of data security for organisations here.
So while Snowden highlighted the risk to data that isn't secured, he really just reinforced the fact that data encryption should be the cornerstone to any security solution for business.
Could you comment on the readiness of enterprises in Asia to deal with sensitive data? Which parts of Asia and industries are more eager to adopt/use them?
Many large and multi-national corporations have their regional headquarters in Asia and these companies have deployed robust encryption solutions and management of their data. In more mature economies such as Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, data protection laws as well as industry-specific security laws are driving the adoption of data encryption.