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6:00 PM -- Sometimes, what sounds good on paper just doesn't cut it in reality.

Take the case of encrypted data, as encountered by senior editor James Rogers at a user security gathering in New York this afternoon. In a panel discussion there, one IT pro opposed the notion of passively adopting encryption just because it's "there." (See Users: Encryption No Silver Bullet.)

"Why would anyone attempt to attack an encrypted file when all they have to do is... [check story for the rest]," said Warren Axelrod, business information security officer at financial services firm U.S. Trust. He advocates the use of endpoint security over in-band encryption.

Having a list of desirable features is great, but it must hold up for a particular setup, or it can produce wasted effort -- and money.

The news is full of examples. LTO-4 tape drives, heralded as a "must" for securing enterprise archives, for instance, are proving to be costly luxury items for some users, who've turned to encryption appliances with satisfactory results. (See Users Linger Over LTO-4.)

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