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The Power of Persuasion

Wire Speed

You may be thinking that ACME should consider across-the-wire backups (also called electronic vaulting) or replication mirroring instead of tape backups. In fact, we've looked at those alternatives. So we're considering tape backup encryption technology that could also be applied to our overall storage and database systems, as well as any data-replication movement. We're insisting on a wire-speed product that operates to alleviate encryption overhead, and we're requiring security features, such as access controls, authentication and logging. The product we've tentatively selected is an encryption appliance that offers integrated fault tolerance.

To test the winds of approval, I sent a short e-mail message to our CIO, Steve Fox, to see how he would react to a $50,000 encryption system price tag. After some prodding questions, he agreed to "socialize" the idea with some of the other senior managers involved in the approval process. Unfortunately, he received some deer-in-the-headlights gazes in return, as well as some questions about investing in a solution when there was no perceived problem. Apparently, as with many other security purchases, we would have to persuade top brass to be proactive, before some marauding exploit violated our perimeter.

No Rules

Although Congress is considering data-privacy legislation, ACME so far isn't bound by any Sarbanes-Oxley-like regulations mandating the encryption of backup data. Still, our customers trust us with their data, and we used this trust as a central tenet in our purchase proposal.

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