Industry missing out on encryption

Companies are missing a free ride on data security accord to speakers at this year's Storage Expo show in London.

Data security is still not as important an issue as it should be and users are missing many tricks when it comes to protecting their data. There are easy and free tools to make data more secure but people aren't using them because of ignorance or carelessness.

"At ICI we encrypt everything, have done for years now," said Paul Simmonds, global information security director at ICI.

"But the reality of the situation is that people don't encrypt their data. It's free, since Windows 2000 you can encrypt your data, but people don't do it."

He continued that at ICI data was encrypted as standard and backups too were made secure in the same way. He pointed out that if data was important enough to back up it was important enough to encrypt.

Part of the problem is the information overload that comes with cheaper and more efficient storage.

"It's crazy," said Graeme Hackland, IT manager for the Renault F1 team.

"We used to be able to put an entire race's data on a floppy disc. Two years ago we upgraded but now all the data we collect won't even fit on a DVD."

He explained that data security was vital to his team's success and encryption was key to protecting vital secrets. F1 is an incestuous sport and old employees weren't above trying to hack into computer systems.

For example Renault had technology developed last year that was quickly picked up by other teams from staff that left the organisation.