Dell is expanding its data protection software portfolio with a new secure lifecycle offering that promises to help organizations protect data as it moves across devices and companies.
The new product, announced Nov. 15, is called Dell Data Protection Secure Lifecycle, and has some of its roots in data protection software that Dell gained through its 2012 acquisition of Credant.
"Secure lifecycle is an important new offering for us and it is built off the backbone of Dell's data protection and encryption solution," Brett Hansen, VP, Endpoint Data Security and Management at Dell told eWEEK. "With secure lifecycle we're focused on how to protect data, certainly from external threats but also from internal threats."
The internal threats can come from employees or partners that might not have malicious intent, but could still potentially be a risk to inadvertently leak sensitive data. Hansen explained that Dell itself has a real need to maintain secure data lifecycle as the company builds its roadmaps and collaborates with external partners.
"You can't vouch for every person, everywhere," Hansen said.
Additionally Hansen noted that in the modern distributed computing world, it's not possible to build walls around data even when it's housed within the four walls of an enterprise. The Dell approach rather is to assume that even if some form of walls around data is in place, there will inevitably be a leak. To that end, Dell is advancing the concept of self-protecting data to secure data, regardless of where it exists.
"We are taking our encryption which can travel with the data and we're putting a metafile wrapper around the encrypted data," Hansen explained. "The metafile carries policy, so the data now becomes, intelligent."
The metafile identifies the importance of a piece of data and embeds policies for who should be granted access rights. The access rights can be very granular as well, looking at where the data is being accessed from, whether it's a company-owned network or a public network.
Additionally, the Dell technology enables the metafile wrapper to report back to an enterprise, so no matter where a given piece of data goes, the data can be tracked. Going a step further, the enterprise is also still able to exert control over data, after it has left the enterprise, for possible revocation or access restrictions.
In the initial release of the Dell Data Protection Secure Lifecycle product, the data classification system has three categories, including high, medium and low sensitivity. Hansen said that at this point the system does not automatically categorize data, rather it relies on end users to do the data classification.
From a deployment perspective, Dell Data Protection Secure Lifecycle platform works with a combination of a local application and an on-premises server central management application. The management application does the encryption key management and provides enterprise control of policies. Policies can includes user and location based access rights along with the ability to restrict printing or document sharing.
"When a user sends a document via email, there is a lightweight application that ships with the document," Hansen explained.
The lightweight application is the mechanism that allows the recipient to interact and access the document. The Dell Data Protection Secure Lifecycle application works with Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS Sierra as well as mobile iOS and Android platforms. Hansen added that Dell is currently working on support for Linux which will debut in 2017.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.