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A new era of security

01 May 07


Not that long ago security discussions were around the network, now the prime focus is on data security.
Mark Heers, NetApp ANZ director of marketing, says there has been a blurring between storage and security in over the last few years.
“I now see a tremendous focus around data protection and a lot of that is driven by data travelling beyond the boundaries of the datacentre,” he says.
Having said that, Heers says network security is still an issue but for different reasons now.
“It is no longer only about preventing people outside the organisation getting in. These days it is also people inside who deliberately or accidentally access data. The FBI believes that almost half of attacks originate inside the firewall.”
NetApp subsidiary Decru’s DataFort security appliance helps solve that challenge, says Heers, by combining secure access controls, authentication, storage encryption and secure logging.
“Regardless of the environment – whether NAS, SAN, DAS or tape backup – DataFort integrates transparently and encrypts data at rest. The end user doesn’t see any difference in performance or speed.”
Heers says Decru has an 18-month leadership position with DataFort.
His claims are backed by independent research from TheInfoPro (TIP) network, which says Decru is the first and only vendor to offer a full range of storage security appliances that enable a unified security approach across legacy and new storage systems.
Heers also notes that there has been a significant shift in security vendors working together – NetApp has alliances with Symantec and Quantum - something he says can only benefit the end user.
“It helps the end user get on the correct technology path; they aren’t standing there trying to pick the winner. Just look at what’s happening with Blu-ray and HDD, nothing is really happening there because no one wants to invest in the wrong technology.”
Another key change Heers has seen is that many organisations now have a person in place to take ownership of security, usually a chief risk officer.
“The industry has definitely matured. Security is now a process that everyone does and that has led to new channel opportunities opening up. When I look at the pilot projects NetApp has in New Zealand, it’s not so much about data encryption but the processes around it; who should have access and where the data goes. ”
Heers believes that channel partners who take on more of a consultancy role with their customers will find success.
“These days you don’t sell security by product. The opportunity is in taking more of a consultative approach and looking at what a customer needs, when they need it and advising them of the best technology to suit their needs.”
He believes it’s more than taking the security headache away for customers, as security isn’t an on-off problem.  “There isn’t a decent-sized organisation in New Zealand that doesn’t have a sense of security and the business pain is in degrees. Partners should be asking what the risk profile of the customer is and how they can work with them to reduce that risk.”
Heers says that although New Zealand hasn’t really had a serious security breech there is still a high level of awareness, particularly among regulated industries.
Decru DataFort was designed for transparency. DataFort fits seamlessly into the existing storage infrastructure, adding critical security without impacting network performance or user workflow. DataFort is implemented as a transparent storage proxy: to clients or hosts, it looks like storage, while storage devices see DataFort as a client or host.

Decru DataFort fits easily into any infrastructure, working seamlessly with existing networks, protocols and applications. Security advantages are realised without installing software on clients, servers or hosts, and authorised users can read, write and modify files as they always have, without changing their workflow.

Depending on the network environment and user requirements, Decru DataFort is highly flexible and can be placed in a number of locations.

DataFort can be installed in less than 30 minutes, and ongoing administration is simple and straightforward using a Web-based management interface. Industry-standard tools like SNMP and syslog can be used for monitoring, and robust CLI allows scripting of common management tasks.

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