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IBM Encrypts The Key to Privacy

In a world where data loss and security breaches of private data seem to be an everyday occurrence, the need for data security cannot be overstated.

The key to data security, according to IBM, is all about the key itself.

IBM today officially announced new encryption technology and services that claim to provide "end-to-end" protection of customer data stored on IBM tape drives.

A key part of the solution is the IBM System Storage TS1120 tape drive, which IBM claims, "is the first encryption drive in the market that addresses the requirements of that legislation and the needs of businesses to protect sensitive information that they store on their customers."

The new IBM solution also integrates with IBM Tivoli storage manager and the Java platform around key management.

In an afternoon conference call to discuss the news, Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM System Storage, explained why the TS1120 tape-drive-based solution is different from its predecessors.

"There are a number of encryption methodologies today -- host-based, software-based and appliance-based," Monshaw said. "All of them have serious performance or security issues."

So the solution, he said, is in the key.

"The key itself is actually encrypted on each tape cartridge so you don't have to figure out where the keys are," Monshaw explained.

"Imagine that you manage an apartment complex with 100,000 apartments which you visit once every five or 10 years and you decide to store the keys in your clothes drawer. That is not a manageable process.

"What this does is it tapes the key right to the door and with public key encryption, you can un-encrypt it very very systematically," Monshaw added.

"There is a lot of sophistication that addresses the gaps in the other solution in the market today.