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Startups Focus on Secret SANs

As companies move to networked storage, their traveling data becomes exposed in more places than ever before. That makes SAN security one of the biggest goals for companies with expanding storage requirements. This week, Decru Inc. and Vormetric Inc. -- two of a handful of SAN security appliance startups with shipping products -- expanded their offerings in hopes of finding their place in that growing market.

Decru launched its DataFort T520 tape appliance, which can work standalone or with its Fibre Channel appliance, the FC520. Vormetric unveiled CoreGuard 2.0, an upgrade that adds Windows 2000 and Linux support to its storage security appliance, which previously ran only under Solaris.

Both products work with SANs, NAS, and direct attached storage (DAS). They offer authentication and access control, and they encrypt data using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), a 128-bit or 256-bit encryption standard approved by the U.S. government.

Decru and Vormetric are among a growing handful of security startups emphasizing SAN storage (see SAN Security). Others include NeoScale Systems Inc. and Kasten Chase Applied Research Ltd., which also make encryption appliances. Decru and Vormetric hope their new launches help them move to the front of a race in which a leader has yet to emerge.

Still, comparisons can be made among the different devices. Analyst Arun Taneja of The Taneja Group says Vormetric offers the most exhausive encryption because it protects data "end to end" across networked storage. The others leave data in the clear at some point in the process. On the other hand, Vormetric only protects data traveling disk to disk; it lacks protection for data on tape.

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