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HP Speaks Key Management

HP has taken the wraps off an encryption key management solution, but like a growing roster of products on the market, the new offering fails to address the essential customer requirement for multivendor interoperability.

HP touts its four-port Secure Key Manager appliance, a one-rack-unit-high device, as a centralized key management solution. But at least initially, users looking to tie the disparate strands of their encryption strategies together in one box are going to be disappointed.

"The initial rollout is focused on HP StorageWorks enterprise tape libraries," says Patrick Eitenbichler, marketing director at HP's StorageWorks division, adding that this will eventually stretch beyond just HP. "Early next year, we expect some of the switch vendors to start supplying switch-base encryption, so [support for] that will be incorporated, probably in the spring," he explains, adding that other encryption vendors will also be joining the party.

The news shows that HP doesn't want to be left out of the hypefest surrounding encryption key management. The hype is playing off complaints from CIOs and IT managers about the keys used to manage encryption. These users cite the lack of interoperability between different vendors' technologies.

"Encryption is easy, but where is the key when you need the data back?" admits Eitenbichler. "It's like going home and putting your car keys in a different location every night and then trying to find those keys."

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