Dell ‘anti-breach’ encryption system arrives in the UK

Dell has launched its ‘anti-breach’ Data Protection Encryption product in the UK, which the company is pitching as offering businesses a way of securing all data-carrying drives in one fell swoop without the complexity and unreliability that has caused slow uptake of the technology to date.

On sale in the US for six months, ‘Dell Data Protection Encryption is a file encryption-based system for protecting laptop, desktop, and external drive data, including USB sticks, eSata drives and even CDs and DVDs. Conceptually, it is an endpoint design that secures all data types and drive types by policy, allowing users transparent key access once they have authenticated centrally.

Templates are supplied for different levels of encryption ‘aggressiveness’ from mild to severe (which would encrypt all file types on all drives); templates are also built around the need for certain levels of compliance.

The alternatives to this design are either full disk encryption, including hardware-based encryption systems for laptops such as Seagate’s Momentus FDE series that Dell will continue to sell separately, and conventional volume-based software encryption that the company reckons many businesses find inconvenient and unreliable.

“From the end user perspective you are going to see very little,” promised Bob Bennett, Product Manager at Dell UK, underlining that for users less interaction with security is a benefit. “We started to see that it [Dell Data Protection Encryption] wasn’t a product, it was about people and policies.”

It’s a given that every company announcing an encryption system for businesses claims that it gets rid of the pitfalls of the technology. Encryption can be complex, for managers and users, and it can certainly be expensive. These factors can compromise its effectiveness as a security system.

Our system doesn’t have those problems, they all say.

All the same, the most interesting element of what Dell is offering is that it is being pitched at a wide range of businesses, large and small. The initial market will be where the perceived market need is greatest, in the public sector, government, banking; all sectors affected by compliance regimes of one sort of another and all organisations sensitive to data loss.

The licensing ranges between 50 seats and 25,000+, but the company has plans to introduce the product for the 1-50 user business, an ambitious target.

One missing link, so far, is mobile support, which the company will fill in using bought-in technology from Credant. The same will apply for non-Windows operating systems. The company is working on integrating this wing of data security in time but it remains a slightly crease in its otherwise smooth veneer.

Dell Data Protection Encryption licensing costs were available on request, the company said.

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