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SAN Security Steps Out

Startup NeoScale Systems announced today that it has begun shipping its storage security appliance -- an area likely to get plenty of air in the light of events like the data security breach at IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) hosting center in Canada (see NeoScale Ships SAN Security and IBM Loses Insurer's Data).

Had IBM encrypted the data on the disk that was stolen, the severity of the incident would have been greatly reduced, as the thief could not have read the data. At least, not without James Bond-like code cracking devices.

As storage networks grow beyond the confines of the data center and the IT outsourcing trend continues, the need to protect important company information is escalating. Besides NeoScale, another startup, Decru Inc., is aiming at protecting data that resides in SANs (see Decru, Nishan Test Together).

Still, SAN security technology is its infancy, and the market for standalone products, from a pair of startups, will be tough to define.

At least one analyst thinks approaches like Decru's and NeoScale's have a decent chance. "Current encryption methods only address data in transit, but data is most vulnerable when it is stored," notes Nancy Marrone, analyst at Enterprise Storage Group Inc. "Security appliances like NeoScale's encrypt the data at rest, so that if a hacker were to break into a zone -- or worse, steal a disk -- they can't read the stored data."

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