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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Easy multi-platform encryption technology

13 February, 2014
Sophos explains the way SafeGuard Enterprise 6.1 can help to overcome ongoing resistance to corporate encryption strategies.


Despite the seemingly obvious need to deploy a data encryption policy in businesses of all sizes either to meet regulatory requirements or to protect intellectual property, surprisingly large numbers of companies still have their heads unnecessarily above the parapet waiting for the ICOs bullet to strike when they inevitably allow their unprotected data to fall into the wrong hands.



Since encryption seems to be such a clear protection against lost data, why isn't everyone doing it? We spoke to John Shaw of Sophos about the problem and what can be done about it.



John explained that the main reasons for companies failing to encrypt their data is that it's seen as something that is both complicated and resource intensive. There is also the perception that with key management becoming disproportionately more difficult as the number of users and encryption products increase, there is a very real chance of lost passwords leading to completely irretrievable data loss. Many IT professionals don't want to accept that risk.



These objections were the reason that Sophos came up with SafeGuard Enterprise 6.1, the latest version of its encryption product. The idea behind it was to make use of the built-in encryption technology that comes with the latest popular desktop operating systems, namely Bitlocker on the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 8 and Firevault 2 for the Mac OS.



Both of these products are included within the operating system and provide enterprise-grade encryption for data protection, obviating the need for buying additional encryption software. Being part of the operating system, the products are also optimised for performance and don't suffer from the additional burden on performance which is usually seen when encrypting.



SafeGuard Enterprise 6.1 provides a management console for this type of encryption and enables IT managers to have enterprise-wide control over encryption on its desktop and laptop computers as well as mobile devices and cloud environments. The single console approach takes the headache out of managing encryption across different platforms.



Each device is actively managed with an agent on the endpoint delivering condition status to the console. If a user switched off encryption, the console would know about it. Similarly, if a laptop is left in the back of a taxi or in an airport lounge, the encryption status of the device can be easily found and the loss can be managed appropriately.



Sophos has gone a stage further than endpoint protection with SafeGuard Enterprise. Understanding the ways in which data moves around was the catalyst for ensuring that encryption goes beyond the boundaries of the hardware. As well as the standard encryption of data as it is moved onto removable media, Sophos has also enabled the encryption of data on cloud services such as file sharing platforms.



The purpose of such services is to allow employees to access data remotely and this is often done on mobile devices so a SafeGuard Enterprise app is also available for mobile endpoints which allows the encrypted data to be accessed when away from the desktop or laptop.



Read more about SafeGuard Enterprise 6.1 in this article: "Multi-Platform Data Encryption For Widespread Adoption"





Jonathan Newell is a broadcast and technical journalist specialising in security systems and transport safety. He contributes to a range of titles in the technical press. He shares his time between the UK and Kazakhstan


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