Encryption for the Enterprise

Handheld devices and other mobile computing options can be the weak link in an IT Security plan


Options Abound
Encryption is becoming commonplace and readily accessible. It is only a matter of time before encryption is installed by default on our computers. Dell offers what it considers the “World’s Most Secure Notebook,” with the Seagate Momentus 5400 encrypting hard drive. I also looked at the customization options of a Latitude D830 computer, and noticed that the encrypting hard drive was offered at no additional cost.

All of the encryption options available can’t be addressed in a short article. This article is designed to get you thinking about encryption. Before any encryption solution is implemented, additional research should be conducted. This article focused on encrypting data at rest, but organizations should also think about encrypting data in transit. A place to start the research is the whitepaper by Jeremy Gibb, “The challenge of securely storing and transporting large files across a Wide Area Network,” which is available at http://www.sans.org/reading_room/whitepapers/vpns/1946.php.

When evaluating options, initial cost should not be the most important factor. While low-cost solutions exist, they do not necessarily offer the management features and robust capabilities of enterprise tools. A low initial cost can be offset by the high cost of support and management.

John Mallery is a managing consultant for BKD LLP, one of the 10 largest accounting firms in the United States. He works in the Forensics and Dispute Consulting unit and specializes in computer forensics. He is also a co-author of “Hardening Network Security,” which was recently published by McGraw-Hill. He can be reached at jmallery@bkd.com.