Survey finds low use of Microsoft encryption technology

If installed, Microsoft's BitLocker hard-drive encryption is actively used under 2 per cent of the time

Microsoft's full-disk encryption feature is not being widely used, even where it is part of the Windows operating system, according to a new survey released by security vendor Opswat.

Microsoft added its BitLocker hard-disk encryption feature to the "ultimate" and "enterprise" versions of its Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems, in response to greater concern over data losses and breaches. It is also present in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Security companies have also taken an interest in full hard-disk encryption by making acquisitions, including Symantec's purchase of PGP and GuardianEdge, Sophos' purchase of Utimaco and McAfee's acquisition of SafeBoot.

Opswat conducted its survey by analyzing 35,000 reports from the 50 million network endpoints on which it manages applications using its OESIS software framework. It verifies the compatibility of security applications with other applications such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPN and network access control technologies.

But it appears from Opswat's data that despite having full disk encryption technology, few organizations are actually using it.

"Our findings show that end-user adoption of hard-disk encryption technologies aren't nearly as widespread as the use of antivirus, antispyware and firewall products," Opswat said. "Even when these hard-disk encryption features are included as a feature in the Windows OS, they remain unused for the most part."

Of the 35,000 reports, nearly 90 per cent of those computers were not using any hard-disk encryption products. A little over 8 per cent of those machines had BitLocker installed, with a little more than 2 per cent having some other encryption product.

Of those machines with BitLocker installed, the application was actively encrypting on only 1.47 per cent of the computers, Opswat found. BitLocker was not used on 98.53 per cent of the machines it is installed on.

"BitLocker, like the disk encryption product category itself, is not finding widespread adoption," according to the report. "Preliminary analysis suggests that mobile computer users (laptops, notebooks) have a higher percentage of BitLocker usage than average."

Microsoft says BitLocker generally reduces performance by under 10 per cent on computers running Windows 7 as well as on Windows Vista.

The top five hard-disk encryption products detected by Opswat in the survey were TrueCrypt, a free open-source product; DigitalPersona; Sophos' Utimaco; Microsoft's BitLocker and Symantec's PGP and GuardianEdge.

Opswat warned, however, that its data is limited to those encryption applications that have been added to its OESIS Framework libraries, and that other disk encryption application vendors can partner with Opswat to be added.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags data protectionOpswat

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?