Self-Encrypting Hard Drives At CES 2011

Posted: Dec 15 2010, 11:38am CST | by , in Shopping | CES


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Self-Encrypting Hard Drives At CES 2011
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These can't come fast enough.

Or, put more accurately, immediately before CES 2011. Every year the big trade show is preceded by a smaller, storage industry event named Storage Visions. I'll be there this year, taking a look at the new self-encrypting drives. Seagate and Toshiba have both already bought into this trend, and we're sure to see a lot more of these in 2011.

Self-encrypting drives have several advantages over software-based encryption. For one thing, they are idiot-proof. Each drive has a key installed at the factory and the drive is constantly encrypting. There's also a standard SED interface used for password recovery or remote data management.

The Gartner Research Group has high hopes for SED technology. They lament that "a pitiable portion" of modern HDDs have this feature, and predict that this "will soon change".

The Trusted Computing Group will bring a bunch of these new drives to Storage Visions. Trusted are the folks responsible for the free Opal specification, which is a "blueprint for self-encrypting capabilities" that ensures all SEDs are compatible and can (optionally) be added to the Trusted Platform Module.

TCG actually has a self-encrypting solid state drive that they will be showing off at the show.

Everyone agrees that data security is important, but most folks aren't willing to do jack-all to ensure it. Sure, we kvetch when Facebook or Google changes something that risks our 'privacy', but how much thought do we give to home data security? How often have you connected your laptop to an unfamiliar WiFi network in some strange part of town?

We all slip up. Which is why self-encrypting drives can't make their way to the mainstream fast enough. These things will see their first audience with enterprise customers, but the benefits of an SED should be obvious enough to spur rapid adoption among consumers.

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