Industry Blog

The rise of encrypted data

Ever since Edward Snowden showed the world how much snooping was going on, privacy has been a major talking point whether it’s at work around a water cooler or its twenty first century equivalent – social media. Everyone has an opinion. Almost everyone agrees that we need to protect privacy.

How is this being done? Well the big news has focused around data encryption, with some of the internet’s biggest players already making the switch. And you can be sure that once Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have done it, everyone else will follow in time. It’s small wonder then that in many of our customer’s networks data encryption has grown fivefold in just the last year.

In fact, on some networks, encryption accounts for 60% of the total data we are seeing transferred. Looking at traffic patterns from our operator customers globally, secure data has increased by at least 25% amongst some carriers and more amongst others. This is a trend that will continue. In the next 12 months, this could rise to at least 80% of all data transferred. This is great news for customers who want to maintain their privacy while they are using their mobile devices, but less so for mobile operators.

Interestingly, the situation in mobile is mirrored on fixed networks too. A recent report by Sandvine demonstrated that nearly 30% of downstream traffic is now encrypted and it expects 60% to 70% by end of 2017. The company revealed that the popularity of Netflix, YouTube and BitTorrent are all contributing factors to this growth.

An encrypted headache
Data encryption may well keep customer’s browsing habits private and secure, but it is currently causing a huge headache for carriers as it threatens to make all their existing optimization solutions redundant. This is seen as even more of a problem when the growth of the data as a whole is taken into account. With the rate of people watching HD videos and taking 20+ mega pixel pictures accelerating, networks are seeing an ever-greater need to optimize.

The solution operators need now are optimization solutions that work even when data is encrypted and hidden. Our Secure Traffic Manager does just this. By allowing mobile operators to deal with the influx of both encrypted and unencrypted data, optimizing it and maintaining the customer Quality of Experience.

Data encryption and growing data demands are unlikely to disappear. As we move towards more IoT devices, data usage is only going to surge. And much of that surge will be coming from encrypted data. Are mobile operators ready?