ORLANDO, FLA. -- EMC World -- With firms struggling to prevent data leakage, Cisco is teaming up with EMC's RSA division to encrypt data traveling across the network. But users say they are reluctant to abandon traditional encryption methods.
The two vendors are looking to push storage encryption into the network fabric in an attempt to tap into users' fear of the embarrassing data breaches suffered by the likes of Time Warner and, more recently, TJX . (See The Year in Insecurity and Financial Security: Priceless.) "What this represents is the next phase of security on the SAN," said Rajeev Bhardwaj, director of product management at Cisco's data center business unit, during a briefing this week.
In a nutshell, Cisco has developed a line card for its MDS family of switches, which it claims will offer 10-Gbit/s AES-256 encryption of data transmitted from servers to back end storage. RSA will handle key management for the technology, which is called Storage Media Encryption (SME). (See RSA, EMC Integrate, EMC Kicks Off With Security, RSA Boasts 8K Customers, Multivendor Management Locked Up, and All Keyed Up With NeoScale.)
Cisco and EMC join a number of other vendors that are already far along in this space, including Sun, which encrypts data within its T10000 tape drive, and encryption appliance players Decru and NeoScale. (See Sun Encrypts Tape Drive, Decru Unveils SecureView, and NeoScale Faces Up to 4-Gig Encryption.)
Users here this week seemed less than overwhelmed by the prospect of SME, preferring the approach taken by other vendors, such as Sun. "For us, the best option would be to encrypt on the tape drives themselves," said Tom Hammond, a network administrator at the Florida Department of Transportation. "For our infrastructure, [tape-level encryption] would work best, because you're encrypting the actual removable media."