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Cisco and RSA work on recipe for SAN encryption

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Capitalizing on the spate of embarrassing data breaches over the past year, Cisco Systems and RSA/EMC are working together to make it easier for organizations to encrypt confidential information by integrating technologies that currently sold separately.

The companies will combine Cisco's Storage Media Encryption, which encrypts data-at-rest as a fabric service, with RSA's Key Manager technologies. The first combined product will be released before the end of the year and will work only on tape drives. Later versions will work on other types of network media types, as well.

It seems plenty of organizations fail to exercise their better judgment when it comes to encrypting sensitive information. We still go bug-eyed every time we think of the fiasco at TJX, which allowed thieves to siphon at least 45.7m of its customers' credit and debit card numbers, at least in part because it didn't encrypt them when they were being transmitted to banks. And TJX is by no means alone.

Just last week, IBM fessed up to losing unencrypted computer tapes containing personal information relating to former employees and customer accounts after a courier was involved in a fender bender.

Cisco and RSA are hoping their combined product will offer "seamless" management of data encryption across a variety of storage devices, including disks, tape drives and virtual tape libraries. This should allow customers to secure sensitive records on media types that lack native encryption capabilities and eliminate the need for stand-alone encryption applications.

Organizations that want to add RSA's encryption manager to their Cisco-based storage area networks will do so by installing a jointly developed line card into their server chassis, according to Computer World. Eventually, the card will encrypt data on wide array of SAN media without requiring configuration changes. The line card will provide 10 gigabits of encryption throughput, and RSA's encryption technologies will support an application programming interface for key management.

The press release is available here. ®

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