New BOSaNOVA Appliance Encrypts Tape Backups
February 27, 2007 Alex Woodie
BOSaNOVA this week announced a new appliance that encrypts tapes and other portable media as backups are being performed. Called the Q3 Storage Security Encryption, the new device is intended to prevent sensitive data from being compromised should a tape get lost or otherwise fall into the wrong hands, which has been occurring with surprising regularity.
You’ve probably heard the story before: Organization A (Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Johns Hopkins University, the IRS) reports that it has lost a backup tape (laptop, hard drive, network security), compromising the integrity of 50,000 (100,000, 1.2 million) customers, costing the company (time, money, respect). (You, too, can play this game at home by filling in the blanks using information from this Privacyrights.org chronology of data breaches).
While there’s no foolproof way to stop backup tapes from becoming lost or stolen, there is an easy way to keep that data on the tapes from being read. It’s called encryption.
Companies are waking up to the fact that, while backup tapes are invaluable in the event of a disaster, those tapes also opens the door to a big liability, says Martin Pladgeman, president of BOSaNOVA. “It kind of exposes them to a fairly big hole that people don’t often think of, because they think of backups as a safety net and something they don’t really want to use,” he says.
If the data on the tape is in clear text–and most of them are, anecdotal evidence would suggest–it can be read by practically anybody with a modicum of technical skill. “If the tape leaves your possession at all . . . you legally have to inform the customer whose info is on that tape,” Pladgeman says. “You’re actually legally bound to disclose to customers if you’re database has been compromised in any way.”
BOSaNOVA partnered with the English company DISUK to bring the Q3 Storage Security Encryption to its North American reseller channel and connection to thousands of iSeries shops. The Q3 is an OEM’ed version of DISUK’s Paranoia2 model, which we covered in this newsletter in October.
The Q3 Storage Security Encryption is a rack-mounted appliance that sits between the server being backed up and the tape drive or optical library writing the back ups. The device employs two 3DES encryption engines, which boosts security by requiring potential hackers to break two 3DES encryption keys, instead of just the one.
The Q3 also compresses the backup datastream before it’s encrypted (since encrypted data by definition can’t be compressed), giving the device a throughput of about 68 MBps, which is fast enough to support today’s speedy tape drives, such as the LTO3.
DISUK previously had resellers for Paranoia2 in the U.S. By signing BOSaNOVA as an OEM partner (the Q3 has a different cover than the Paranoia2), it will increase the potential reach of the product, Pladgeman says. “We’re re-branding it and pushing it through our distribution channel. It’s more mainstream than having dealers resell it,” he says. “One of the other things we bring to the equation is we have support in the U.S. time zone.”
Pladgeman hired Mike Campbell, formerly of iTera (now a part of Vision Solutions) to drive the Q3 product line. Campbell holds the title of director of security solutions.
Q3 Storage Security Encryption is available now. The SCSI version of the product starts at $18,000. BOSaNOVA hasn’t set a price yet for the Fibre Channel version of the product, but it will be more expensive. For more information, visit www.bosanova.net.