Ever since the Trusted Computing Group released its storage encryption standards earlier this year, companies have started touting the benefits of using self-encrypting hard drives as the solution to the problem of safeguarding data-at-rest. These companies recognize one of the inherent limitation of self-encrypting hard drives, which is that managing the keys for multiple hard drives would quickly become a nightmarish task for an IT department. Of course, they have a solution for the problem which is an additional hardware component that provides local key management for all the hard drives. And they claim that these solutions are cost effective compared to the cost of a data breach. Of course, any IT manager knows that justifying spending money based on avoiding the cost of a data breach is a fairly hard sell in most companies. And in absolute terms, these solutions are not cheap. That’s because you have to buy the individual self-encrypting drives, as well as the local key management hardware.
It would be much easier to justify a solution that has a low absolute price point and that allows you to leverage all of your existing hardware. A solution like Zserver Storage. The companies that offer local key management hardware will tell you that software based encryption management solutions are limited by the processing resources on the computer and thus can’t give you the performance of their hardware solution. But CPU speeds are rapidly increasing and multi-processor boxes are now common. So software solutions that have multi-threaded capabilities are capable of delivering the same performance as hardware solutions.
So the bottom line is that if you are going to encrypting data for your home or a small home office where you only need to encrypt a few drives, then standalone self-encrypting drives may be the most cost-effective solution for you. But if you are responsible for an office, you should give serious consideration to an encryption management solution like ZServer.