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Self Encrypting Disks Prevent Vulnerabilities Caused By Software Encryption Disabling

Origin Storage : 09 July, 2010  (Technical Article)
Origin Storage comments on the attempted sale of a lost laptop at Newark Airport and the knowledge that encryption is often either disabled or not installed, adding that Self-Encrypting Disks can solve this problem
Reports are coming in that a US airport manager has been sacked for attempting to sell a laptop that was apparently stolen from the lost property department at Newark Liberty International Airport.

And, says Andy Cordial, managing director with storage systems integration specialist Origin Storage, whilst it is worrying to hear about the moral failures of someone responsible for airport security - including the safety of passengers as they travel in the air - the sage sends a clear message to many laptop users that still do not encrypt their notebook computer data.

'Although precise numbers are not available on the percentages of UK laptop users that do not encrypt their data, a Ponemon Institute study of early last year revealed that 56 per cent of US business laptop users disable or simply do not use encryption on their notebooks,' he said.

'This leads us to believe that around half of the UK laptop-toting business population are also not encrypting their notebook data, which is very worrying when you consider the potential for a data breach that could result - and, of course, the huge fines that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) could impose for a businesses' failure to protect its data,' he added.

According to Origin's managing director, the fact that the ICO has just published a code of practice for securing data online is encouraging, and it is to be hoped that the guidelines will encourage companies to mandate the encryption of data on their employee's laptops.

But, Cordial said, he has his doubts as to whether the message on securing data will get through, as the problem that many companies face is that employees tend to use their own notebook computers for work purposes.

And, laudable though this trend is, it makes the job of a company IT manager all the more difficult, as it is often all but impossible to extend company IT security defences and policies to a personal laptop owned by a member of staff.

There are, he explained, all sorts of employer/employee issues that arise in this situation, but supplying staff with a self-encrypting laptop drive kits can solve the problem.

The kits, which were launched at the Infosecurity Europe show earlier this year, start at just £249 for a 160GB version include a USB/SATA data transfer cable and Acronis drive cloning software.

'Rather than supply the bare drive, the Enigma SEDs (self-encrypting drives) we supply come with all the cables and software needed to allow a laptop users to move their data from the old drive to a new one, and install it very simply,' said Cordial.

'We said at the time of the launch that we thought the kits were a unique solution in the industry and that continues to be the case. The kits are an ideal solution to the problem of unencrypted data on business laptops and, as the Newark airport sacking case highlights, the risk of a data breach from a lost laptop are quite high,' he added.
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