Archive for May, 2012

Is Disk Encryption Really the Silver Bullet?

Posted by on Thursday, 24 May, 2012

Disk encryption was introduced as a solution for simplifying the encryption requirements that most companies face for protecting sensitive data.  Now that the IT industry has gained a few years of experience, however, many have discovered that disk encryption is not an all-encompassing security solution.

disk encryption for laptop computersLaptops are one of the most popular targets for disk encryption.

[Download our white paper Defending Against Data Breach for details about the risks laptops and tablets present for IT staffs.]

However, companies have discovered that it requires a lot of planning and time to implement laptop encryption properly.

First of all, disk drives must be in good condition with no disk errors, and experts recommend that they be de-fragmented before installing the encryption software.

Once the time-consuming de-fragmentation task is completed, encrypting the drive will take an additional 2- 4 hours depending on the size of the drive.  Employing disk encryption for a large number of laptops in the organization will therefore result in some significant downtime for their users.

Some companies are touting disk encryption as their “end all” for meeting compliance requirements.  But it is not a silver bullet.  For instance, once a laptop is placed on the network, the data on the encrypted disks could potentially be accessed by savvy online hackers.  Once access is gained, all information on the compromised laptop could then be easily downloaded from the laptop by the hacker.

For those companies that deal with credit cards, PCI DSS compliance standards involve a complex series of requirements that disk encryption cannot solve on its own. Here are just two items from the PCI checklist:

  • A user’s access to protected data must be managed separately from his or her access to the operating system that the data resides on.  Therefore, if the secure data is stored on an MS Windows server, access control to the sensitive data must be managed by an application other than in Active Directory.
  • Cryptographic keys and cardholder data must be encrypted wherever it may be stored, including removable media such as USB drives, CDs, DVDs, or tape backups.  However, disk encryption does not encrypt data if it’s moved to other devices.

IT professionals are discovering that the best way to meet PCI DSS and other similar regulations is to keep sensitive data off of laptops whenever possible. Sensitive data can be more easily secured and controlled by IT professionals within centralized corporate database systems. The data can then be encrypted at the field level within these database systems.  Along with effective key management and audit trails, an effective database encryption solution will provide a much higher level of protection for this sensitive data.

To maximize their time and resources, many companies are turning to third party vendors, such as Linoma Software’s Crypto Complete, which provide an effective solution for field encryption without the need to make programming or database changes.

Keeping data secure is a constant battle, and given the high cost of data breach, it could be one of the most critical tasks a company tackles.  As hackers get more creative, relying on encryption best practices may be the best defense IT has.

Daniel Cheney

Daniel has been the IT Director at a healthcare company for the last 12 years and a longtime beneficiary of GoAnywhere Director and the IBM i platform. He is also a freelance writer for various technical and social media projects.

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Wrapping Up Another Great COMMON Conference

Posted by on Tuesday, 8 May, 2012

Like many in our industry, we do our fair share of trade shows, and as anyone who has ever exhibited will tell you, it’s a lot of work.

In our company, Lu Ann handles all of the arrangements.  She books the plane tickets, reserves the rooms, secures the exhibition space, orders the exhibitor badges, organizes and ships the collateral, and coordinates a thousand other details to ensure everything goes smoothly for the team when they arrive.

The sales team does all of the manual labor, including packing and repacking the booth displays and equipment, helping load and unload the heavy boxes onto the shipping company’s truck, and of course setting up and tearing down the booth.  Again, so many details to manage to make sure everything is perfect for the opening of the show.

Months in advance, our marketing team is planning giveaways and prizes, updating collateral, and trying to add new ways to catch visitors’ attention.

Throughout the show, we’re working hard to connect, meeting new trade show participants and vendors, and reconnecting with long-time customers and partners.  We’re striking up conversations with people who pass our booth, and we’re walking the floor saying hi to old friends and introducing ourselves to new ones.  It’s an energizing, exhausting, rewarding process.

And of all of the trade shows that we attend and/or where we exhibit, COMMON holds a special place for us.  The COMMON community is tightly knit and loyal, and every show is like a family reunion.    New deals are forged, partnerships are discovered, and all the while relationships are built and nurtured.  When we reconnect with customers or friends, it’s as if we’re just picking up the conversation right where we left off from last year’s COMMON conference.

As I approach my one-year anniversary as marketing manager at Linoma Software, I’m fortunate to have been invited to attended my first COMMON conference. When our president Bob Luebbe toured me around from booth to booth introducing me to people, I quickly realized the level of connection Linoma has with the IBM i community.

It was wonderful to finally meet in person all of the folks I’d been working with all year:  Jennifer and Megan from iPro Developer; Chris, Kara, David and Jeff from MC Press; Tami and Darryl from IBM Systems Magazine; Dan,Timothy, Kim and Jenny with IT Jungle; and Dan Cheney, our most prolific blogger on this and the GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer blog whom I finally got to hug.  It was especially amazing to spend quality time with my friend and mentor Bill Rice, with Humanized Communication.

Today, as we’re breaking down the booth, saying goodbye to friends, and anticipating the long flights home, it’s clear that the IBM i community is thriving.  We are proud to be a part of it all, and are already planning for next spring’s COMMON conference.


Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing, and you can find out more about her by viewing her LinkedIn profile.

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