PGP Releases Data Encryption For Mac OS X

Disk Encryption OS

While PGP already offers a data encryption solution for the Mac, the latest release adds a pre-boot authentication to the Menlo Park-based company's data encryption offering for Mac's Tiger and Leopard operating systems.

Specifically, the disk encryption solution is aimed to protect the entire content of any type of removable media, including laptops, desktops, external drives or USB flash drives, including boot sectors, system and swap files.

With one centralized console, the disk encryption solution can be used in tandem with PGP's Universal Server to manage existing policies and configurations.

Plus, execs say that the latest version can continuously encrypt all files, even while the machine is in use. The solution is able to throttle back power to allow productivity, and then return to full force when the computer is at rest, with no change to the user's experience.

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"We try to be sensitive to that and make sure the machine is still usable while you're encrypting," said John Dasher, director of product management at PGP. "If they stop using their computer, we can take all the cycles we can get to make it go faster."

The encryption solution comes at a time when Macs are becoming more ubiquitous in the enterprise environment. With the success of the iPhone and iPod, more and more businesses are incorporating Macs into their network environments, experts say.

A March Forrester Research study reported that the enterprise adoption of Macs tripled to 4.2 percent last year, while a Yankee Group survey found that 87 percent of companies now have at least some Macs in their offices -- a statistic which has risen 48 percent from two years ago.

"We're now seeing that change," said Dasher. "They're just really becoming a tool of choice in the enterprise."

Execs tout the product as the the only one on the market that can accommodate an integrated environment for both Windows and OS X.

"It's really important to have protection for both," said Dasher. "The people who are on Macs need to be able to share information securely with Windows users, or take a take a thumb drive to Windows users. Our product supports that functionality."

It's also the only data encryption solution for Mac that comes with a FIPS 140-2 validation -- a federal cryptographic standard imposed on corporations by government agencies.

Looking at the broader picture, Dasher said that the data encryption solution addresses the growing need for enterprises to protect critical data, which has become increasingly mobile, and as a result, increasingly vulnerable to loss. It also comes at a time when companies are required to implement beefed up security to protect intellectual property and corporate brand quality, as well as sensitive customer information.

"Your people are the perimeter, no matter where they are," said Dasher. "Customers are now refusing to do business with a company that has data losses. There's growing customer turnover, and marketing costs are going up if they've had a breach."

"The down side is that (employees) can walk out the front door with every file they've touched since being at the company. It's helped fuel the problem," he added.

The Whole Disk Encryption for Mac will ship in July. The offering is available at $120 per license through PGP channel partners.