Quantum adds security to storage line

Quantum adds security to storage line

Quantum is set to announce various security features for its tape and disk storage products -- some available now and others planned for next year -- to help IT managers do a better job of protecting stored data from unauthorized access and disclosures.

The San Jose-based vendor's technology road map calls for data encryption from the individual drive level all the way up to the array and library system. Quantum said it plans to unveil in the second half of next year native data-encryption capabilities through firmware embedded on silicon in the tape drive and on a special router on its tape libraries.

For starters, Quantum will announce a partnership with Decru in Redwood City, Calif., that will allow Quantum to resell Decru's DataFort encryption appliance to encrypt data being backed up on Quantum's tape and disk systems. Quantum will also offer physical locks on its tape libraries and disk drive arrays to prevent insider theft.

Moreover, the vendor plans to release DLTSage Tape Security, software that creates an electronic authentication key that gets embedded on a tape cartridge and restricts access to the data on that cartridge to authorized users. Jim Jonez, director of product marketing at Quantum, said DLTSage Tape Security is a free firmware upgrade that's available now on the new DLT-V4 drive and will be standard on the upcoming release of the DLT-S4 drive, which will be available next quarter.

In mid-2006, Quantum will add an audit-trail feature to its DLTSage software so administrators can identify who has accessed backup systems.

Waiting for users

Quantum's technology will appeal to any IT manager concerned about digital tapes falling off delivery trucks, said Jon Oltsik, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

But many companies haven't invested in storage security. In a recent survey of IT managers at more than 300 companies by GlassHouse Technologies, 54 percent of the respondents said they have no documented procedures for protecting stored data, 85 percent said they don't encrypt their backup data, and 70 percent rated their data storage security as only fair or poor.

Bill Dedi, senior systems administrator at Tellabs, a US$1.2 billion network systems manufacturer said storage security is a priority in his mind, but business executives haven't provided any funding for such technologies yet. "Securitywise, we don't have much in place," he said.

Dedi's IT group supports 200 Windows-based servers that are backed up to a virtual tape library, which then archives the data to a Quantum PX720 tape library using DLT320 tape drives. Dedi said he normally backs up about 14TB of data weekly.

While he may not be ready to upgrade to Quantum's upcoming encryption technology, Dedi said he does plan to use the DLTSage Tape Security upgrade. He said that, currently, there's a vulnerability because any drive can read any tape, but with the electronic key, "you're not going to be able to do that."

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