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Making Encryption Work Better

Technologies to Protect Our Data

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The growth of mobile computing over the past few years, combined with numerous breaches that have been disclosed through the media, has created a desire to keep both our personal and corporate information safe. I often get asked by friends and customers how Intel participates in the safeguard of our data. I’ll address this with three blog posts over the next few weeks that cover encryption, identity protection, and recovery in the event of a breach.

One of the easiest ways to protect against thieves stealing our personal info is to encrypt our data, whether it’s at rest (stored in a device) or in transit. Encryption scrambles information utilizing a key to unlock the data (very simplified description). The problem with using encryption is that it takes significant processing power and can slow down the performance of your device. This has led to both end users of tablets, laptops, and such, as well as IT managers turning off or disabling the feature, which leaves those devices unprotected.

Intel is applying its compute performance leadership to improve platform security, first by building dedicated instructions into its Core processors to deliver faster encryption performance. For example, a laptop computer using leading disk encryption software from vendors such as Sophos, Symantec, or Intel Security (McAfee) can now expect to see little to no performance degradation when encryption is enabled. The PC user simply enters a password to unlock the data storage and immediately get to work. If that laptop were stolen, its thieves would have a very difficult if not impossible task of cracking the encryption code.

Microsoft now includes BitLocker in Windows 8.1 Pro releases. Microsoft utilizes the secure storage area called a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to store the security key. Yet another example of encryption for laptops and desktops is self-encrypting drives. For example, the Intel Solid State Drive Pro 2500 series does encryption through a built-in engine. It follows the industry standard for encryption, Opal 2.0 so that it can easily be managed from a central console. Finally, let’s not forget the capabilities in the Atom Z3700 series product family, which also includes built-in AES hardware-supported full disk encryption. You don’t need to compromise on data security just because you’re carrying a thin and light tablet.

You can see through these examples that Intel does not just impact the performance of computing, but also security capabilities. Now ask yourself this question, are you encrypting your data to strengthen your security position? With the performance gains achieved in the latest generation of Intel processors, there is no longer an excuse to avoid this valuable security feature.

For more information on these and other Intel security products, please visit http://IntelSecurity.com.

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