Sybase: Encrypt the Data, Save the Batteries

Sybase looks to improve the performance of its mobile encryption offering.

Sybase has enhanced the encryption capabilities of its Afaria mobile security technology to improve performance and ease the strain on battery life.

Afaria is the security component of Sybase's Information Anywhere mobile management suite. Aiming to help customers balance their desires for encryption and solid performance, the company rearchitected Afaria's encryption capabilities to work at the driver level, Sybase officials said.

"We've got a completely redesigned, handheld security client that we really feel is a breakthrough architecture," said Joe Owen, vice president of engineering for Sybase iAnywhere. "What the client provides is power-on password and data encryption capabilities along with some other related security functionality. But the real key difference in this release ... is we've completely rearchitected the software to hook into the file system at a much lower level."

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All encrypted data is decrypted only upon request by the application or operating system, rather than at log-in. This in turn cuts the amount of time it takes to log in, and the fact that smaller amounts of data are being decrypted on demand saves battery power, officials said.

"All the data on the disk remains encrypted all the time, and only when those requests are made by the application do we dynamically decrypt small buffers of data ... and pass it up to the applications there," Owen said.

Sybase has a number of competitors when it comes to mobile encryption, such as Trust Digital and Credant Technologies. Sybase, Owen said, is looking to challenge all its rivals in the area of performance.

For now, the Afaria enhancements support Windows Mobile 5 and 6, but support for other platforms is coming, he added.

The enhancements to Afaria, which also include password recovery improvements, were announced March 3 in conjunction with the launch of Sybase's iAnywhere Mobile Office at the Gartner Wireless & Mobile Summit in Chicago.