nShield Edge: USB-attached hardware security module

Thales released nShield Edge, the world’s first FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated USB-attached hardware security module (HSM). It features an integrated card reader and requires only a standard USB connection to the host computer to operate.

Smart cards, commonly used for protecting personal credentials, are highly portable and provide physical protection for keys. However they typically lack the scalability, strong authorization controls, and key recovery capabilities required to support mission-critical enterprise applications. While HSMs offer these features, they are best suited to high performance datacentre deployments.

nShield Edge offers a “best of both worlds” solution that is secure and portable to help organizations comply with best practices as they deploy dispersed encryption and digital signature-based applications.

Due to its small size, nShield Edge has the optimal form factor for use on the road, in temporary deployments, in remote offices or placed in vaults for high assurance applications that require strong physical security while they are off-line.

Because it connects via a USB port and does not require an additional power supply, nShield Edge is well suited for use with laptops. In addition, HSM protected keys and cryptographic operations within nShield Edge can be accessed by virtual machines since many hypervisors can pass the USB connection through to the guest operating system.

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