News Analysis

IBM and Sun encrypt tape drives

IBM and Sun Microsystems have brought out tape drives that can encrypt data to prevent corporate information going missing on lost or stolen tapes.

Both vendors are already adding the capability to high-end tape drives.

The IBM TS1120 and the Sun StorageTek Crypto-Ready T10000 each feature a custom chip with built-in encryption capability. Both Sun and IBM also announced tools for managing the keys used for encrypting and decrypting data on the tape drives.

At a press conference introducing the drive, one CIO said his company has been encouraging its clients to encrypt the tapes they give to his company for storage, but many still don’t bother.

IDC believes that although offering encryption is significant, equally important is having the tools to manage the keys that are created.
Often it is concerns over the management of such keys that become a barrier to adopting encryption.

Once again, effective adoption is as much down to usability as the actual product functions. Encryption always sounds too much like hard work, which is why many organisations don’t bother, often to their cost.


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