Cisco, RSA Join Forces on Data Security

Cisco will partner with EMC’s RSA Security Division on its fabric-based data encryption offering, the companies announced this week at EMC World in Orlando, Fla.

The two said the new technologies will help customers encrypt data-at-rest on tapes and other types of storage media and manage encryption keys within the storage area network (SAN) infrastructure, resulting in a process that is “less invasive, more secure and easier to manage.”

The planned Cisco and RSA technology will include Cisco Storage Media Encryption (SME), which provides encryption of data-at-rest as a fabric service, and RSA Key Manager, a centralized solution for encryption key lifecycle management.

The product “will help enable customers to meet various regulatory and privacy requirements by helping to ensure that confidential information is not compromised if a storage tape or disk is lost or stolen,” the companies said in a statement.

The technology will also support an open API for key management.

“Security threats are no longer confined to companies with backup tapes stored at an off-site facility,” said Rajeev Bhardwaj, director of product management in Cisco’s Data Center Business Unit. “Now companies of all sizes are exploring encryption because of the real threat of losing data or having it stolen.”

Cisco will integrate Storage Media Encryption into Cisco-based SAN fabrics to offer easier management of data encryption across multiple types of storage devices, such as disks, tapes drives and virtual tape libraries (VTLs).

By encrypting data in the network fabric, Cisco says customers can secure data on media that lack native encryption capabilities, such as legacy tapes and disks. By using the Cisco SAN fabric, customers can eliminate the need to manage separate standalone encryption appliances. Cisco SME technology will be non-intrusive and work seamlessly with existing backup applications, the company says.

RSA Key Manager is designed to centrally generate, store and broker access to cryptographic keys securely and manage their complete lifecycle.

Jon Oltsik, security analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the Cisco-RSA technology offers two advantages: there is no need for an additional box for Cisco customers, such as a Decru or NeoScale encryption appliance, and scalable key management provides for future needs.

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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