Quantum Secures Tapes

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Quantum has unveiled a free tape security offering that the company says is the first step in a broad tape security initiative planned over the next year.

DLTSage Tape Security, unveiled Monday, prevents unauthorized access to data on tape cartridges, a feature Quantum says “will be particularly valuable in protecting tapes that must be transported off site.” After high-profile reports of data tape losses earlier this year, Quantum hopes the new offerings will resonate with customers.

DLTSage Tape Security will be offered at no additional cost to customers and will be included in the company’s newest DLT tape drives and supported in its tape automation systems. In addition to DLTSage Tape Security, Quantum also announced a new strategic partnership with data encryption vendor Decru and native encryption on Quantum’s DLT tape drives.

“The DLTSage Tape Security solution is particularly unique, as it addresses an immediate end-user need, does not impact backup or recovery performance and is offered free-of-charge,” said Jon Oltsik, senior analyst for information security at the Enterprise Strategy Group. “By combining this security protection with encryption and other types of access controls, Quantum has clearly demonstrated that it understands the importance of a layered approach to data security.”

An Enterprise Strategy Group study earlier this year found that less than 20 percent of companies regularly encrypt their data as it is backed up to tape, due to concerns about cost, performance degradation, the effect on recovering data, and whether solutions meet the full range of security needs.

Quantum’s new security framework attempt to address such concerns by offering controls on physical access, administrative access and data access in backup, recovery and archive processes. In addition to physical locks Quantum currently provides on its storage systems, the company will also offer administrative controls such as user authentication and authorization and role-based access privileges that allow only authorized administrators to access Quantum systems.

Other administrative controls will include audit logging and Secure Socket Layer/Secure Shell (SSL/SSH) support. Audit logging enables tracking of all attempts to access Quantum systems, whether successful or not, as well as tracking of activity once access is granted. SSL/SSH support provides secure network-based access and login access to administrative information about Quantum’s storage systems.

At the heart of the security framework is a set of data access controls. DLTSage Tape Security is a firmware feature designed into Quantum’s newest DLT tape drives that uses an electronic key to prevent or allow reading and writing of data on to a tape cartridge.

The key can be managed in three ways: at the individual tape drive level using Quantum’s DLTSage management architecture; by the host backup application; or through the management console from which Quantum’s tape autoloaders and libraries are managed.

DLTSage Tape Security will be available at no additional charge as an integrated feature in Quantum’s upcoming DLT-S4 super drive, and through a firmware upgrade in its recently introduced DLT-V4 value line tape drive. DLTSage Tape Security will also be supported at no additional cost across Quantum’s tape automation portfolio.

While DLTSage Tape Security provides a way to protect data for customers who do not want or need to encrypt all their data, Quantum’s security framework also includes encryption, thanks to a joint sales, marketing and interoperability effort with Decru’s DataFort storage security appliances. Quantum also plans to offer tightly integrated encryption and security management capabilities within its product line.

Quantum plans to begin offering DLTSage Tape Security in its DLT-V4 and DLT-S4 tape drives, along with related key management in its tape automation systems, in the first quarter of 2006. At the same time, the company will initiate its joint sales effort with Decru and begin providing user authentication and authorization, role-based access controls and SSL/SSH support. Quantum plans to introduce the remaining elements of its security framework, including audit logging and native encryption, later in 2006.

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Paul Shread
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 Time.com, 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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