Seagate Unveils Mobile Encrypted Hard Drives, With Dell As OEM

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The new hard drives also include software from McAfee for the enterprisewide management of laptops with Seagate security.

Seagate's new Momentus FDE (full disk encryption) laptop drives are available in both 5400-rpm and 7200-rpm models, with capacities up to a half-terabyte, said Joni Clark, product marketing manager for the storage vendor's Personal Computer Business Unit.

The new drives, which feature 128-bit AES encryption and are National Security Association (NSA) certified, can be swapped into existing mobile PCs, Clark said.

They include hardware encryption, so there is no performance overhead and no need to change the encryption software if the security software is changed, Clark said.

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She said the management of Seagate's encrypted hard drives comes from McAfee's $350 million acquisition in October of 2007 of SafeBoot, a privately held vendor of data encryption technology.

SafeBoot was added to McAfee's ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) security management software, she said. "So software encryption is no longer necessary," she said. "So for small businesses, if they know that encrypted hard drives are faster than software encryption and they offer security, there's no need to go out and purchase a new laptop. They can just replace the hard drive."

For those looking for new mobile PCs, however, Seagate is making the drives available through PC OEMs, custom system builders and distributors.

The first OEM to publicly announce its use of the drives is Dell, which is adding the 7,200-rpm Momentus drives to its new E-family of Latitude mobile PCs. Those PCs included the factory-installed Embassy Suite software from Wave Systems or third-party software from Dell's Software and Peripherals group to manage the drives for data protection and compliance, Clark said.

Seagate has been shipping encrypted hard drives for about 18 months, starting early last year.

The company in April shipped its first enterprise-class models, the Cheetah 15K.6 FDE.

The company also has a line of portable external storage under the Maxtor BlackArmor brand name.

The 320-Gbyte models of the 5,400-rpm and 7,200-rpm Momentus encrypted hard drives are already shipping, while the 500-Gbyte versions are expected to ship early next year.