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New storage standards from The Trusted Computing Group

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The promise of painless storage security

New specs from a standards group could bring easy-to-manage, built-in security to storage devices.


Lately, it seems like the whole world has been drawn into information security. Whether it's consumers, government agencies or technology vendors, everyone now realizes that information security is the price we pay for pervasive global communications.

Storage professionals and vendors are part of this mix, but a quandary exists. Storage devices are at the back of the technology stack, relatively blind to the software logic above. Protecting storage devices is a worthy goal, but what users truly want are information safeguards, not just spinning disks and magnetic media. Leading storage vendors have noticed this trend and are preparing strategies for information-centric security, a concept similar to secure information lifecycle management (ILM). The goal is to classify data based on business rules; protect data based on value; and enforce security, privacy and usage policies regardless of information location.

Secure ILM is a great idea, but how will it evolve? The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) believes the industry will receive a major push from an unfamiliar source, the Trusted Computing Group (TCG).

TCG describes itself as "an industry standards body, composed of computer and device manufacturers, software vendors and others with a stake in

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enhancing the security of the computing environment across multiple platforms and devices." It's best known for the PC-based Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and TPM Software Stack (TSS). TPM/TSS is instrumented into integrated circuits, systems and apps, and is available on new PCs and laptops because it's built into microprocessors from AMD and Intel, and systems from companies like Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. At the beginning of 2006, approximately 50 million TPM-based PCs were deployed worldwide; the resident TPM chips can be used for device authentication, rogue software detection and secure credential storage.

This was first published in January 2007

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