Customers “clamoring” for self-encrypting hard drives

The encryption, which goes anywhere the hard drive goes, whether it is moved, stored or retired, would automatically encrypt all data using 128-Advanced Encryption Standard encryption when the drive is removed or shut down.

IBM is partnering with Seagate on bringing the technology to enterprises and Gordon Arnold, product manager in its storage software division, told Infosecurity that customers, particularly in financial services, are clamoring for this technology. Using disk-based encryption means their key management policies are unaffected, he said

Gianna DaGiau, product manager for Seagate, explained that compared to other encryption technologies, self-encryption within the hard drive has no effect on performance.

Seagate’s new Cheetah 15K.6 FDE (Full Disk Encryption) for enterprise data centers has encryption technology built into the drive’s controller ASIC.

FDE also gives enterprises confident when the dispose of the disks.

The company has already been shipping similar functionality for notebook PCs and announced the security technology for desktop PCs and portable USB-connected drives.

The feature will be included as an option on 15,000 RPM models of Seagate’s Cheetah family of 3.5-inch drives for server and storage applications. Seagate’s new 3.5-inch drives are available in capacities of 450 Gbytes, 300 Gbytes and 147 Gbytes.

Gartner analyst Eric Ouellet said hard drive disposal in particular has always been one of the most challenging elements of the data security lifecycle.

“Even with secure disposal processes in place, misplacement, mislabeling and theft still do occur which can result in significant losses, possible penalties and fines,” he said. “Eliminating the risk of compromise from the source is one approach that can significantly reduce the complexity of managing sensitive data.”

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