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All Keyed Up With NeoScale

NeoScale Systems will soon be one of the first major vendors of storage security appliances to support third-party encryption keys -- but it won't be the last.

On March 14, NeoScale plans to unveil the CryptoStor KeyVault, a system designed to manage encryption keys for multiple instances of its CryptoStor appliances -- and, via a free application programming interface (API), equipment from other vendors as well.

NeoScale's CryptoStor, installed alongside tape libraries or other appliances, digitally encodes stored data so that it can't be read except by a qualified recipient with a unique key. The new KeyVault automatically shares encryption keys associated with NeoScale CryptoStor appliances in multiple data centers. KeyVault can be used to streamline archiving procedures, safeguard disaster recovery sites, or exchange secure records with business partners, the vendor claims.

All good news, although the automated sharing of multiple keys is also claimed by competitors like Decru (now part of Network Appliance). The real highlight of the announcement -- and a feature that isn't duplicated by archrival Decru yet -- is the third-party API. NeoScale says it is circulating among several large tape appliance and backup device vendors interested in having their keys managed along with CryptoStor's, though it won't identify these third parties just now.

If NeoScale can back its words with deeds, it could lead to a change in how storage encryption devices function. Instead of being relegated to one or two data streams, these units could now become the focal point for security in the storage network.

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