Quantum computers are expected to break modern public key cryptography owing to Shor’s algorithm. As a result, these cryptosystems need to be replaced by quantum-resistant algorithms, also known as post-quantum cryptography (PQC) algorithms. The PQC research field has flourished over the past two decades, leading to the creation of a large variety of algorithms that are expected to be resistant to quantum attacks.
These PQC algorithms are being selected and standardized by several standardization bodies. However, even with the guidance from these important efforts, the danger is not gone: there are billions of old and new devices that need to transition to the PQC suite of algorithms, leading to a multidecade transition process that has to account for aspects such as security, algorithm performance, ease of secure implementation, compliance and more. Here we present an organizational perspective of the PQC transition. We discuss transition timelines, leading strategies to protect systems against quantum attacks, and approaches for combining pre-quantum cryptography with PQC to minimize transition risks.
We suggest standards to start experimenting with now and provide a series of other recommendations to allow organizations to achieve a smooth and timely PQC transition.