Check the Checklist

Sometimes a checklist item sounds good but doesn't make sense

June 27, 2007

2 Min Read
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6:00 PM -- Sometimes, what sounds good on paper just doesn't cut it in reality.

Take the case of encrypted data, as encountered by senior editor James Rogers at a user security gathering in New York this afternoon. In a panel discussion there, one IT pro opposed the notion of passively adopting encryption just because it's "there." (See Users: Encryption No Silver Bullet.)

"Why would anyone attempt to attack an encrypted file when all they have to do is... [check story for the rest]," said Warren Axelrod, business information security officer at financial services firm U.S. Trust. He advocates the use of endpoint security over in-band encryption.

Having a list of desirable features is great, but it must hold up for a particular setup, or it can produce wasted effort -- and money.

The news is full of examples. LTO-4 tape drives, heralded as a "must" for securing enterprise archives, for instance, are proving to be costly luxury items for some users, who've turned to encryption appliances with satisfactory results. (See Users Linger Over LTO-4.)Ditto CDP. While this continues to be hyped by a host of vendors, there are some that claim it's just not necessary. "Sometimes going back to a point in time is good enough, and you don't take a performance penalty," said Jay Kidd, SVP of NetApp's emerging products division, at a tradeshow this spring. (See NetApp's Kidd Talks Turkey.) So far, it's not clear that folk are really missing CDP in NetApp wares.

Of course, it's important to weed out hype and excuse from the pros and cons of any technology. But it's safe to say that any technique, no matter how much fun on paper, must stand the test of usefulness in the most important site of all -- yours.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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