Quantum computing could soon emerge from research labs to handle practical workloads such as simulating complex processes or performing cryptographic calculations that are beyond the reach of current supercomputers. While this is all very exciting it poses serious issues for the security of many systems. Quantum computers could easily break current state of the art cryptography, so data encrypted today will become an easy target for quantum hackers of the future.

Cheap mass storage enables cyber criminals to harvest vast quantities of encrypted data and simply wait until they have the firepower to expose its secrets. Data protection regulations require organisations to maintain data confidentiality for periods of several years, so this is a serious threat.