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Encrypt the Hard(ware) Way

Unless you've been living on Mars, it should be clear by now that sensitive corporate data especially data archived on tape – should be encrypted.

As the October Byte and Switch Insider, Storage Security: Pay Attention or Pay the Price, points out, more than 50 million Americans have had their personal information compromised since February. Some of the largest breaches involved lost tape, according to the non-profit consumer information and advocacy organization Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC).

Although only one piece of effective data security, encryption is the most logical solution for preventing problems caused by lost tape. Encrypted data can't be read by unauthorized eyes, and it spares the organization that loses the data from having to make a humiliating public admission.

The decision about encryption shouldn't be if, but rather how – and even that shouldn't be much of a debate anymore. Tape encryption can be handled in backup software applications or in hardware appliances that plug into the SAN.

But data security experts say the best way to encrypt is through hardware-based encryption, via appliances such as those sold by Decru, NeoScale, Kasten Chase, and Vormetric. Appliances have built-in processors to handle encyrption as well as management of decryption keys.

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