TIN BOX FLOGGER Dell will offer its business customers data encryption software to simplify the deployment of company-wide data security.
The firm said that its Endpoint Encryption software uses file based encryption as opposed to 'full disk' encryption, which is generally deployed because administrators don't want to take the chance that users forget to encrypt a particular file. To mitigate this, Dell's software essentially filters files to be encrypted or decrypted within the operating system on the fly with no user interaction required.
Administrators will be able to configure the filters to their liking, in essence offering a fine-grained encryption strategy on a per-machine basis. Dell correctly points out that full disk encryption solutions typically require a bit more work prior to deployment and some maintenance, such as disk defragmentation, during service. If designed correctly, the firm's filtering solution could be the best of both worlds, offering seamless file encryption for users and giving administrators greater control.
Dell's endpoint software supports removable drives or, as the firm says, "basically anything that Windows reads as a drive letter". The endpoint software works on machines that run Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X and Dell says that the software doesn't require Dell hardware.
Similar software, albeit without the enterprise level administrative controls, has been kicking around for some time in the form of Truecrypt. While it offers a multitude of options, it does rely on user interaction, and regardless of how trivial it might be, firms are growing wary of relying on employees to take appropriate precautions to protect data, as the Home Office and Ministry of Defense have found out to their great embarrassment.
As the volume of data moving through organisations increases, administrators will have to consider not only an encryption policy but also prioritising what data gets encrypted. Hard drive manufacturers have been pushing full disk encryption for some time now and, while encrypting everything initially seems like a good catch-all policy, in some cases there is no need and doing so could end up becoming a headache for firms.
Techies might scoff at Dell's endpoint solution, meaning it runs on front-line machines rather than servers housed in the bosom of the datacenter, but if it results in a small business adopting encryption of sensitive data such as customer contact information, then such software might well be the way to go.
Although it may seems a little Heath Robinson, Dell's software could be just what is required to kick firms into deploying much needed data protection procedures. µ
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