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PGP Adds Vista, USB Drive Encryption Support

PGP Corp. has given its PGP Encryption Platform a boost by adding support for new platforms, applications and expanding encryption support to other potential areas of vulnerability.

Version 9.6 of the PGP Encryption Platform adds support for 32-bit Windows Vista, Mac OS X and Lotus Notes. It also updates support for whole disc encryption of USB thumb drives and adds integration with ControlGuard's endpoint security products.

PGP Encryption Platform is in PGP's Universal Server product, which allows for centralized policy management and enforcement for encryption and security policies. Included are policies for the email gateway, files and folders, and desktop e-mail clients. It provides a universal server for key management, policy management, and logging and reporting of activity.

While the new encryption is designed to offer policy-based encryption options for removable and non-bootable disks, the emphasis is on the removable thumb drives that plug into USB ports, which have been so popular and commonplace the lower capacity ones are routinely given out for nothing, making them ubiquitous, and hence, a security threat.

"They're like Bic pens," John Dasher, director of product management at PGP told internetnews.com. "If you lose one you get another from the cabinet. They've got next to zero cost, and users are less likely to report a lost thumb drive to IT. From a risk perspective, these drives are a far bigger risk than laptops ever were."

Through its integration with ControlGuard, administrators will have a more fine grain policy when it comes to removable devices. When someone inserts a USB or Firewire device into a computer, the device is recognized and there are two choices, either to encrypt the whole disk or mount it as read only. ControlGuard adds the ability to differentiate between devices and set a different policy with each device.

The company said in its own surveys, it has found increasing awareness about encryption. "It's really coming to the forefront of their planning," said Dasher. Almost 20 percent of companies surveyed are using full disc encryption, two-thirds have a plan to deploy encryption.

"Encryption products are notoriously difficult to deploy. PGP does a decent job of making it easier, because encryption is by no means for the faint hearted," Paul Stamp, senior analyst for security at Forrester Research, told internetnews.com.

But while he liked PGP's product mix, he felt it still has a way to go. "If used properly, encryption delivers for security. Getting the right policy in place is key, and they haven't completely managed that yet for all of their products," said Stamp.