Rockets Enterprise Encryption Tools Protect Laptops, USB Drives

The software maker adds management and deployment tools to its SecurityVault package, which creates password-protected "virtual lockboxes."

Rocket Software is launching an enterprise version of its SecurityVault encryption package that it claims can help businesses improve protection of data stored on PCs and removable drives.

Rocket.SecurityVault Enterprise Edition adds installation and management tools to the existing version of the companys SecurityVault technology, which promises to isolate data in directly encrypted files, folders and portable storage devices.

The package aims to help companies address the problem of stolen or missing laptops and external storage drives by applying password encryption on any level of granularity that a company or user desires.

Using the software, people can turn anything from a single Microsoft Office file to the contents of an entire USB fob into a virtual hard drive that can only be accessed using a password they create.

When a file protected by the application is open, a new drive letter is automatically added to the users desktop that is the only point of access that can be used to access the contents of the encrypted content or device. Each time the user wants to open the protected content, he or she is prompted again to enter the password.

The product is also being marketed as part of the Rocket Mobility Suite, which includes several other security applications aimed at protecting company data that travels outside the network.

Other features added in the Rocket.SecurityVault Enterprise Edition include a centralized management console and password-reclamation tools for administrators.

While enterprises may have steered away in the past from technologies that can be used to uniquely encrypt almost any type of file, based on the headaches that would cause in managing massive IT operations, the growing problem of stolen laptops and the laws that require companies to report potential data breaches are driving firms to consider such tools, said Peter Richardson, Security Business Unit manager at Rocket Software, which is based in Newton, Mass.

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In addition to creating the new package aimed directly at larger customers, the firm has also entered negotiations with several vendors of USB storage devices that may offer the security applications preloaded onto their devices, he said.

"Basically, this system allows employees to turn every piece of content they handle into a virtual lockbox that is encrypted and protected as only the most valued corporate data has been guarded traditionally," Richardson said. "It also takes something useful like the USB drive that is being adversely affected by the need to better protect data, and makes it a useful option again, which it should be."

The system also allows users to protect any potentially sensitive data they need to access using multiple devices, as the entire encrypted file can be e-mailed or saved to a removable storage device that supports the software. The files are specifically protected by a 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) cipher.

Another proposed benefit of the system is its ability to prevent any protected content from being indexed by Google Desktop Search, even when files are open. When encrypted files are closed, Rocket claims, all trace of the data stored therein is removed from the system they are stored on, including the file names and directory structure of the secured content.

/zimages/7/28571.gifThe VA plans to encrypt all its laptops, following recent thefts. Click here to read more.

At least one Rocket customer has said SecurityVault is already helping it protect data more effectively. Bill Jenkins, director of IT for Unicco, a Boston-based provider of facility management services, said the added layer of encryption is an effective defense mechanism, and that users have responded well to the application.

"Weve all seen what someone can do very quickly to take control of a computer and steal files, and with this encryption you simply cant gain access like you could before," Jenkins said. "The toughest part with anything like this is getting people to use it, but weve had pretty good luck with this based on its simple interface. You can also encourage people to adopt it by showing them how it helps protect the personal information they have stored on the PC; that seems to get everyones attention these days."

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