Toshiba shows off self-deleting, self-encrypting drive
Unique, but not for long
Neat idea: if you could delete the security key on a self-encrypting drive (SED) then for all practical purposes the data is lost for ever. That's what Toshiba has done, adding a key wipe facility to its SED products.
The Toshiba SED drives, such as the 2.5-inch, 7200rpm models announced in July, are designed for use by notebook, printer and copier suppliers with the aim of protecting sensitive data, such as security documents. Such information could be recovered from a printer or copier which stores document images on a hard drive. These products are often leased and devices move from customer to customer.
Tosh has added a facility to have the on-disk security key be automatically deleted when the drive's power supply is turned off. That means any sensitive data on the drive is effectively gone for good. It can be used to prevent private and secure data leaving the building or department when a printer or copier does. This is much simpler and easier to accomplish than over-writing a hard drive with zeroes or extracting it from the device and degaussing it.
The company reckons this is a world first, but its uniqueness probably won't last as it's so obvious and easy to implement. ®
Office multifunction printer
This sounds like a really good solution for office multifunction printers, but probably not so great for other things. Our office printer is networked and does digital scanning, printing, faxing and copying, sometimes handling huge print jobs from multiple users simultaneously. If there wasn't a hard disk inside to store print jobs in the queue, it would have to have a massive RAM, which is expensive. At the same time the document feeder can scan a hundred pages and email back to the user in PDF format. If there wasn't enough onboard storage it would have to email them a page at a time.
You can see why having a large onboard storage is really useful. You can also see why it only needs to be volatile - you can always resend a print job or rescan your documents if the power fails. It only has a hard disk because it is cheaper than the equivalent RAM, so making it effectively a volatile hard disk would be advantageous for places that have security concerns.
... they exist already. They call them "Dell". ;)
The reason is that driving a laser printer mechanism is a realtime process..
It used to be done page by page with RAM as intermediate storage, but for advanced features such as producing multiple copies of multipage documents stapled into A5 booklets, then the whole document needs to be buffered, not just one page. And of course, it's prefereable if one person sumbitting a large print job doesn't result in everyone else getting "prniter busy" for the next half hour. Having a hard disk as a buffer solves these problems but creates a security issue. Inventing the volatile hard drive fixes that.