Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dramatic shift to self-encrypting hard disk and SSDs by 2017

ORLANDO, USA: Data storage industry analyst Dr. Thomas Coughlin, Coughlin Associates, revealed the industry’s first forecast examining the adoption of self-encrypting drives (SEDs). Self-encrypting drives, most of which are based on specifications created by the Trusted Computing Group, automatically and continuously encrypt all data in the drive itself, protecting it from loss, theft or attack.

Coughlin addressed attendees in an Emerging Technologies session at the NSA (National Security Agency) Trusted Computing Conference and Expo.

Coughlin’s research found that:

* Within two years (by 2013) SED capability will be in over 80 percent of SSDs and likely in almost all SSDs within three years (2014).
* By 2017, almost all HDDs will include SED capability.
* By 2016 the high, median and low estimates for security adoption for SED HDDs are 411 million, 315 million and 122 million units.

Coughlin notes that a number of factors will foster adoption. These include cost parity of SEDs to non-self encrypting storage devices; no performance impact on individual systems with SEDs compared to software-based encryption; no performance overhead compared to software encryption running on the host; and possibly longer useful drive life than drives used in a software encrypted system, due to increased reads and writes with SW encryption.

The report also notes additional benefits of SEDs. These include:

* The encryption key is stored on the storage device and cannot be accessed through host hacking, which is a typical and common attack on systems with software encryption.
* SEDs are less complex to implement in storage array encryption solutions.
* Increasing legislation and regulations favor the use of SEDs, particularly those with FIPS 140 certification.

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