Page 1 of 2
Seagate is expanding the capability of its self-encrypting hard drives by standardizing the encryption of new models to a new industry hard drive standard and making certain models compatible with the government's FIPS (federal information processing standard) 140-2.
Self-encrypting hard drives are those with encryption technology built into the drive's controller ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit). They are designed to improve the security of data by capturing and encrypting all the data automatically, with no need to classify the data and no impact on performance. By encrypting the data on a hard drive, the risk that data on lost or stolen PCs can be accessed by unauthorized persons is minimized.
With self-encrypting hard drives, encryption of the data is done at a much higher speed than software-based encryption, with little or no impact on performance.
Seagate started shipping enterprise-class self-encrypting hard drives in Spring of 2008, but had been shipping such drives for mobile PCs since 2006.
Going forward, all new Seagate self-encrypting hard drives will follow a new industry-wide protocol called Opal, which was developed in concert with the Trusted Computing Group, said Joni Clark, senior vice president and marketing manager for Seagate.
Seagate's original self-encrypting drives followed a Seagate proprietary protocol called DriveTrust, and other hard drive vendors who later entered the market also followed their own protocols, Clark said.
Unfortunately, for ISVs looking to take advantage of the encryption technology in the hard drives, it was necessary to include each drive manufacturers' protocols in their software.
"All manufacturers selling self-encrypted drives had their hand in developing Opal," she said. "I hope they all adopt Opal."
Seagate self-encrypting drives featuring the Opal protocol are currently sampling with storage OEMs.
Once Opal is ready, Seagate's drives will include both the Opal and the DriveTrust protocols, Clark said.
Next: FIPS 140-2 Validation