November 30, 2018 By Chuck DeLouis 2 min read

Quantum computers are poised to solve currently intractable problems for traditional technology. At some point in the next 10 or 15 years, quantum computers may be powerful enough to put your data at risk by compromising your cryptography. Data protected by today’s encryption methods may become susceptible to decryption by the unprecedented processing power of the emerging quantum computer.

Act Today to Prepare for the Future

The urgency to act now is based on a data risk timeline. Data stored today may need to remain confidential or valid for up to 30 years. There are four factors that influence the data risk timeline:

  1. The strength of your current cryptographic algorithms. Weaker algorithms may be at risk before stronger algorithms. The challenge is to know your complete cryptographic inventory.
  2. The security time value of data being protected. How long must the data be protected throughout the life cycle of a product?
  3. Crypto-agility. How quickly can an enterprise upgrade existing cryptographic deployments? For some organizations, it may take years.
  4. The pace of quantum technology improvements.

What Is Quantum-Safe Cryptography?

Quantum-safe cryptography refers to algorithms that run on today’s classical computers but are secure against quantum adversaries. The implication is that we can protect data today.

IBM develops and standardizes quantum-safe cryptographic algorithms in an open and collaborate fashion. Cryptographic standards are important to facilitate the widespread and interoperable adoption of security. IBM believes that lattice-based cryptography has the best combination of quantum-resistant properties and is part of three lattice-based consortium submissions to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s call for post-quantum standards.

Why Crypto-Agility Is Crucial

Few enterprises know the full range of cryptographic solutions they have deployed. For some, it may take years to upgrade their cryptography, as with migrations from SHA-1 to SHA-2 or Triple Data Encryption Standard (TDES) to Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The transition from today’s cryptography to quantum-safe technology offers an opportunity to rethink how applications consume cryptography. Cryptographic agility is a key aspect of cybersecurity, and organizations would be wise to leverage it as part of their quantum-safe journey.

If you’re interested in setting up a Quantum Risk Assessment for your organization, please get in touch.

More from Data Protection

Data security tools make data loss prevention more efficient

3 min read - As businesses navigate the complexities of modern-day cybersecurity initiatives, data loss prevention (DLP) software is the frontline defense against potential data breaches and exfiltration. DLP solutions allow organizations to detect, react to and prevent data leakage or misuse of sensitive information that can lead to catastrophic consequences. However, while DLP solutions play a critical role in cybersecurity, their effectiveness significantly improves when integrated with the right tools and infrastructure. Key limitations of DLP solutions (and how to overcome them) DLP…

Defense in depth: Layering your security coverage

2 min read - The more valuable a possession, the more steps you take to protect it. A home, for example, is protected by the lock systems on doors and windows, but the valuable or sensitive items that a criminal might steal are stored with even more security — in a locked filing cabinet or a safe. This provides layers of protection for the things you really don’t want a thief to get their hands on. You tailor each item’s protection accordingly, depending on…

What is data security posture management?

3 min read - Do you know where all your organization’s data resides across your hybrid cloud environment? Is it appropriately protected? How sure are you? 30%? 50%? It may not be enough. The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023 revealed that 82% of breaches involved data in the cloud, and 39% of breached data was stored across multiple types of environments. If you have any doubt, your enterprise should consider acquiring a data security posture management (DSPM) solution. With the global average…

Cost of a data breach: The evolving role of law enforcement

4 min read - If someone broke into your company’s office to steal your valuable assets, your first step would be to contact law enforcement. But would your reaction be the same if someone broke into your company’s network and accessed your most valuable assets through a data breach? A decade ago, when smartphones were still relatively new and most people were still coming to understand the value of data both corporate-wide and personally, there was little incentive to report cyber crime. It was…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today