Safe and Sound

With a dizzying array of new encryption options on the market, which one is right for you?

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Also, keep track of sensitive data elements as they move throughout the process. "They go from one database to maybe a smaller database," Ouellet says. "Is there a way you can leverage centralized storage, like a NAS or SAN, where both databases store their information in the SAN? There's replicated data, but at least it can be protected using an encryption appliance."

Few Shortcuts for Persistent Encryption

Although encryption strategies exist for laptops, databases and backup tapes, transferring encrypted data from one storage level to the next remains a sticking point. In most cases, data must be decrypted and re-encrypted as it travels from one resting place to another.

"There are some solutions that bridge a couple of the different areas, such as laptop encryption and e-mail," Ouellet explains. "But as far as persistent encryption across the network - not right now. "

A few vendors, including RSA Security Inc. and nCipher Corp., offer key management software that could exchange keys between applications from the same vendor. But that technology is in its infancy, Ouellet says.

Enterprise digital rights management (DRM) technologies have the potential to streamline this process. DRM offers persistent encryption and security, and rights activity that is defined as part of the file itself. "There's a tag that's assigned to the file. If I want to view or print the file, I have to validate that I have the proper access rights for that activity," Ouellet says. DRM becomes even more important if companies need to distribute protected documents beyond the enterprise. Microsoft and Adobe Systems Inc. are developing DRM products. Adobe plans to ship its LiveCycle Policy Server in the third quarter of this year.

"In five years, DRM is going to be the most pervasive way to protect your data," Ouellet says. "Until then, there is no hybrid right now that covers everything. You're going to have different areas that are covered with different types of technology."


Are you currently encrypting your backup data?

Are you currently encrypting your backup data?
BASE: 300 companies surveyed

SOURCE: GlassHouse Technologies Inc., October 2005

Collett is a Computerworld contributing writer. Contact her at

Special Report

Storage: New Wrinkles 2006

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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