Ingrian Secures SQL Server

Security appliance firm says the database is the place to encrypt

September 1, 2004

2 Min Read
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In another step away from its original charter, Ingrian Networks Inc. has added SQL Server to the list of databases protected by its DataSecure Platform appliances (see Ingrian Announces Security Appliance).

The four-year-old Redwood, Calif.-based vendor began life providing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for Web traffic -- and still has most of its customers in that area. Two years ago, though, as companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) crowded the field, management decided to focus where it could make more impact.

Enter DataSecure, a series of hardware/software devices that connect via Ethernet to servers, as well as NAS and SAN devices, to encrypt data within applications or databases, then store and manage the encryption keys. The products work with Unix and Windows, encrypting data in Oracle, DB2, and now SQL Server databases, down to the field and column level. The company says its appliances let customers consolidate database security and centralize its management.

Ingrian competes with a range of vendors, including network-based appliance providers like Decru Inc. and NeoScale Systems Inc., as well as security software from the likes of Netegrity Inc. It claims to have the best features of both types of products -- the improved performance claimed by hardware-based companies, and the level of granularity that software providers boast.

At a base price of $32,500, Ingrian appears to compete most closely, however, with the likes of Decru, whose DataFort appliances start at about $30,000.Indeed, Ingrian's approach raises the question of where and how data is most effectively protected -- at the level of application, database, or storage device. There doesn't seem to be an easy answer, particularly, since upper-layer integration may call for some custom work.

Encrypting certain kinds of applications, for instance, may require some level of integration, depending on what an enterprise wants to make secure.

If there is hands-on work to be done, though, Ingrian spokesman Randy Budde says the company's up to providing it on customers' behalf. Pairing DataSecure with an SQL Server database will take less work, however, since Ingrian is further along in offering the interfaces for off-the-shelf use. "There are some tradeoffs, even though we are focused on automating tasks as much as possible," Budde says.

So far, though, the challenges of data encryption haven't daunted Ingrian, which has about 50 employees and has gained $40 million in funding to date (the last input came in January 2004 to the tune of $14 million). Management still plans to turn the company profitable by next year.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch0

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