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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Users: Encryption No Silver Bullet

Encrypting data as it travels across corporate networks could be a distraction from the real security challenges facing organizations, warned IT managers at a security event here today.  These sentiments were echoed by fellow panelist and Security Constructs analyst Tom Bowers, a former information security officer in the pharmaceutical industry.  “Encryption can solve a lot of problems, but it’s not the be-all and end-all,” he said, using the example of an unscrupulous employee using a digital camera to take an image of an encrypted file.

U.S. Trust’s Axelrod would not reveal what forms of endpoint security he uses within his organization, although he explained his back-end storage philosophy.  “I believe in data restriction,” he said, explaining that his primary requirement “is to get rid of it as soon as it becomes obsolete.”  “We have a branch of the military that we’re working with—they have a 15-character minimum password and you have to change the last 10 characters every 90 days,” said Kevin Gillis, vice president of secure file transfer at vendor Ipswitch.

Other users at the event cited the challenges posed by removable media and laptops, something that’s become a major headache for IT managers and CIOs.

A number of vendors, including SanDisk, Lexar, and Seagate, are currently touting solutions, designed to lock down data on laptops and USB drives, which is quickly catching on with IT managers and CIOs.

In a show of hands at another of today’s panel discussions, around a quarter of the 20-plus audience members confirmed that they are encrypting their laptop hard drives.

Posted on 06/26