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The holiday shopping season is predicted to look much different this year. Many began shopping as early as the beginning of November. Less than half plan to spend the same amount as they did in 2019—with a third planning to spend less or nothing at all. But a definite trend this year is the overwhelming preference for online shopping, curbside pickup, and contactless payment. It is already a heavy lift for companies to prepare products and services to sell during the biggest revenue days and weeks—it’s equally vital to prepare each company’s processes and technologies to protect consumers’ personal data.

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The world at large is facing a privacy paradox. With personal data used more and more for everything from unlocking a phone to downloading an app, the public is increasingly aware of the risks of sharing data online. Unfortunately, individuals continue to share personal data. Largely because we have to: Individuals are required to give up certain personal data simply in order to interact in the modern world.

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As if ransomware attacks weren't already a big enough problem—infecting millions of computers and draining billions of dollars every year—a new development has made the threat an even greater concern.

Starting in late 2019, a hybrid variety of cyber attack has emerged, in which traditional ransomware tactics are combined with data exfiltration. Attackers notify their victims that if they fail to pay the ransom demand, not only will data on the infected systems remain encrypted, but the attackers will expose highly sensitive data to the public as well.

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It’s happened to everyone: you type the first few letters of your recipient’s name in Outlook and hit Tab—and you don’t realize that your customer credit card lists just went to Melvin, the annoying vendor who keeps spamming you, instead of Melissa in accounting.

Human error may not get as much attention as ransomware, spearphishing, and other cyber threats, but the reality is that careless insiders, not malicious outsiders, pose the biggest risk to data security.

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Data classification in businesses and enterprises is everywhere. Many enterprises plan to take action on data classification in 2020, whether it’s implementing a new system or modifying the one they have.

The reason? Sensitive information is everywhere.

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For several years, tech media has been telling the world that our encrypted data will no longer be secure after quantum computers come onto the scene. Reporters often call this the "cryptopocalypse." Panicked stories like these attract clicks, and clicks attract ad revenue.

But the truth, as usual, is not so simple. Asymmetric encryption (using public/private key pairs) is vulnerable to quantum-based attacks, but strong symmetric encryption (using the same strong key to both encrypt and decrypt) will remain safe from quantum attacks. For cryptographers and other technically-minded cybersecurity people, this may seem obvious, but the message hasn’t reached the masses—even to many people who work in the industry.

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It was another exciting RSA Conference! We always look forward to attending RSA, and as in previous years, we gained valuable insights during our conversations with information security professionals from around the world.

Here’s a summary of the top trends and developments we heard from our customers, industry analysts, and other professionals in the security world.

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Every year, more organizations adopt encryption to protect their sensitive data. According to the 2019 Ponemon Institute Global Encryption Trends Study, the percentage of companies with enterprise-wide encryption strategies has tripled in the last 15 years. With regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act providing incentives for companies to encrypt customer data, that trend will likely accelerate in 2020 and beyond.

Organizations considering encryption have many options to choose from, ranging from solutions that protect single hard drives to those that facilitate company-wide protection. One of the most important distinctions to consider is between transparent encryption and persistent encryption.

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