DISUK Launches First Backup Tape Encryption Solution-In-A-Box For Smaller And Mid-Sized Companies

14th June 2005 Northampton, UK DISUK today announced SafeTape, a backup tape encryption “solution-in-a-box’, aimed in particular at securing the data of small and medium-sized businesses whose tape security is typically more ad hoc than in larger organisations.

SafeTape combines DISUK’s highly regarded Paranoia2 encryption appliance with a backup tape reader/writer, rendering installation a plug-and-play matter – ideal for smaller companies with either limited in-house technical expertise or straightforward data protection requirements. Should any SafeTape-encrypted tape be lost, its contents would be unreadable without the encryption “key’ known only to authorised company personnel.

Today’s launch comes after a spate of high-profile incidents involving the loss of backup tapes containing sensitive personal information. The incidents have served to highlight that millions of people are at daily risk of identity theft because data backed up to magnetic tape is not usually encrypted, a fact borne out by recent research conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group.

Worse still, most of the information necessary to clone identities, such as address and date of birth, changes either rarely, or never, meaning that even an old backup tape could contain information that would enable a criminal to borrow money or apply for credit cards in the names of many victims. Corporate identity theft is also possible, which cost UK businesses more than £50m in 2004.

Hamish Macarthur, CEO and founder of Macarthur Stroud International said: “It is the responsibility of each company to protect and secure its information systems. If information becomes public, whether it be intentional or through carelessness, it is not just the company and its shareholders which suffer from that loss. It may also impact a wider circle from employees whose livelihoods are adversely impacted to customers or suppliers who are exposed to potential fraud.”

The potential for loss is exacerbated by the physical removal of tapes from a company’s main premises by way of a crude business continuity precaution, and is especially acute among smaller companies. Although some businesses use specialist suppliers to safeguard their tapes, it’s common practice among smaller companies for backup tapes simply to be taken home by the IT administrator. These backup tapes are clearly vulnerable to accidental loss or theft from private cars or homes.

Paul Howard, managing director of DISUK, said: “For many reasons, there are more copies of data floating around than ever before, and a great deal of it is on vulnerable magnetic tape. Just one of these – the “wrong one’ – falling into the wrong hands undetected could easily result in thousands of identity thefts all occurring at once. SafeTape is low-cost and simple and means that there’s no excuse for companies now. It’s time for business to eliminate this weak spot in their security arrangements before someone successfully takes advantage.”

The encryption – or not – of magnetic tapes has significant legal ramifications. The UK’s Data Protection Act (1998) requires that: “You must safeguard your own or anyone else’s data, by appropriate precautions against loss, corruption or unauthorised disclosure’, so an organisation losing a magnetic tape containing personal data would immediately appear to be a breach of the Act.

Such a breach could, however, be cancelled out if the data had been effectively encrypted such as to render the contents unreadable. Conversely, as the technology now exists to encrypt tape data, it’s possible that the loss of an unencrypted tape could increasingly become seen as doubly serious.

Of course, post-incident operational and legal costs, plus the cost of the potential public/employee/customer/supplier relations fallout, may ultimately far exceed the cost and operational overhead of encrypting backups. It takes an average of 16 months for victims of identity fraud to realise they’ve fallen prey to this crime and can take up to two years for victims to repair the damage to their credit report.

Taking the precaution of tape encryption has been recommended by Iron Mountain, the world’s largest data protection service providers. In April 2005, its chairman Richard Reese issued a statement that says: “The only effective means to prevent unauthorised access to data is the use of encryption.”

About SafeTape TM
SafeTape will be available in UK and EMEA from 21st June 2005. Price per unit starts at £9995 / €14995 SafeTape TM is a secure backup tape subsystem with built in encryption. It’s simple to install and supports SCSI, Fibre Channel and iSCSI interfaces, is compatible with all major backup software, and available with either, LTO, AIT or SDLT tape drives. “Powered by Paranoia”
SafeTape products utilise the latest generation of encryption engines from the Paranoia family and are fully compatible with the Paranoia2 product range which has been in use throughout Europe and North America since 1997. About DISUK Limited
DISUK Limited is a British company specialising in design and manufacture of data storage encryption systems for corporate, finance, government and military customers. Founded in 2004, it is the only privately funded independent provider of data storage encryption. DISUK headquarters are in Northampton, UK and it supports global sales through a network of established data storage and security distributors. For more information about DISUK and its encryption products, please visit www.disuk.com.

Don't miss