Welcome to the May edition of the Storage magazine eNewsletter, which includes a variety of news announcements and feature articles looking at technology developments in the HDD and SSD arenas. In the ‘Safe and sound’ feature, Nick Powling of Hammer explores the potential of encryption drives as a solution to the UK’s apparent lack of preparedness when it comes to cyber-security – and given the recent furore around ransomware striking NHS trusts and other huge organisations, this is a timely piece indeed. Is a self-encrypting drive (SED) a possible fix for the ransomware threat?
As Powling explains: “With SEDs, the encryption takes place as the data is written to disk. The security comes from the associated RAID controller, such as Broadcom’s SafeStore, that supports hardware encryption. The complementary keys on both the drive and the controller card mean the disk will only work in-situ. If it’s removed (lost, stolen, end-of-life, warranty repair etc) the data becomes unreadable. The codes are all but unbreakable. Due to the 256 bit encryption there are billions of possible encryption codes. Even if a program was written to try them all it would just take too long; at least 10 years. The moment it looks like someone is getting close to finding a way to break a code, the manufacturers simply raise the bit encryption. What was 128 became 256; so 512, 1024 will almost certainly follow.”
This looks like an affordable and workable approach, that is waiting just for formats to be standardized – it remains to be seen if it is a long-term solution, of course.
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