Quantum Leaps Into Security


Encryption is the key to securing data that is stored off-site, ensuring that unauthorized users cannot access data stored on tape or as an electronic file, said Mark O'Malley, manager of strategic marketing at the Irvine, Calif.-based vendor.

"Backup data is not adequately protected off-site," he said. "But hardware encryption tends to be expensive, while software alternatives are painfully slow. Often there's a trade-off between finishing a backup or encrypting the data."

To that end, Quantum this week is introducing its Security Framework, which includes three cost-conscious hardware-based options for encrypting backed-up data.

First, the company plans to resell via its channel a data encryption appliance from Decru, a data encryption vendor acquired earlier this year by Network Appliance. The DataFort appliance provides high-performance encryption of data as it goes to tape or to the disk-based backup system. The appliance will be Decru-branded and co-marketed with Decru starting in the first quarter of next year.

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Quantum also is adding encryption to the firmware of its tape drives at no additional charge, starting next quarter with its coming DLT-S4 drives, followed shortly by a downloadable utility for the company's new DLT-V4 drives. It initially will be available for Windows file systems, with Unix and Linux versions coming in the second quarter of 2006.

Additionally, Quantum will incorporate the ability to assign encryption keys to drives via its tape libraries and autoloaders. Such keys can be transferred to new drives if an older drive is replaced, or can be transferred to new libraries.

Mark Montano, national sales manager of West Coast Technology, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Quantum solution provider partner, applauded the idea of adding encryption to the backup process.

However, Montano said, it is still too early to determine how much of an impact the move will have. "It's like storage virtualization," he said. "Three years ago, people were talking about it, but nothing happened. Now it's everywhere."