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Startup develops enterprise storage security appliances

A Calif.-based startup developed a storage security appliance that provides wire-speed encryption, enterprise policy management and transparent operation.

A Milipitas, Calif., company, which was officially launched Wednesday, said it has created technology that enables data security for high-availability, distributed storage infrastructures.

NeoScale Systems, Inc., has been developing its CryptoStor products in stealth mode for two years. According to the company, CryptoStor is the first storage security appliance providing wire-speed encryption, enterprise policy management and transparent operation.

NeoScale's first product, CryptoStor FC, enters beta test this month and protects Fibre Channel SAN environments. Key features of the rack-mounted CryptoStor appliance include gigabit speed standards-based encryption, extensive key management, secure remote management, flexible data preparation and recovery options, FIPS 140 Level 2 compliance and Fibre Channel fabric interoperability.

"The development of network security solutions has not kept pace with the unique data security and privacy requirements of storage networks," said Aseem Vaid, CEO and co-founder of NeoScale. "Until now, the adoption of storage data protection was hindered by complexity, performance issues, poor manageability and high costs. CryptoStor overcomes these challenges with a readily deployable, manageable and scalable gigabit data protection solution that complements current network security efforts."

As companies accelerate their adoption of SANs and NAS to meet demand capacity, availability and continuity, and as the sheer volume of stored data increases across the enterprise, traditional security solutions begin to fall short in their ability to protect enterprise storage resources. Current network security practices combined with emerging storage standards, such as authentication, port zoning and LUN masking, only provide partial data protection to enterprise storage resources. This creates a storage security gap that leaves organizations vulnerable to unauthorized data access.

According to Himanshu Dwivedi, managing security architect at @stake, Inc., SANs are a gateway for hackers to tap in to a businesses' network.

"Hackers will try to gain access through the path of least resistance," said Dwivedi. "We are seeing the same problems in the Fibre Channel that you saw in the IP networked based world in the late 80's."

"The growth of SAN and NAS deployments has been hampered by interoperability and security challenges," said Michael Peterson, president and founder of Strategic Research Corp., a storage industry research firm based in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Peterson said that NeoScale developed the needed layer of data security protection for storage networks. "Their CryptoStor appliance is elegantly designed and integrates sophisticated security policy administration, encryption processing and key management capabilities that provide a complete, enterprise-class storage security solution," he said.

In addition to security, many organizations must now take steps to better protect the privacy of their data. Sweeping legislative changes in financial, healthcare and commerce have created liabilities for enterprises that fail to ensure data privacy at all storage levels. In order to provide a strong barrier against unauthorized storage data disclosure and avoid potential corruption, companies must apply policy-based access and encryption of storage data during transport, on the storage subsystem and on the media.

"There is no security silver-bullet," said Chris Christiansen, VP of Internet Security at IDC Research, a market research and consulting firm based in Framingham, Mass. "Corporations must use a tiered approach to defend their storage network investments against the same spoofing, denial of service, unauthorized access, data theft and predominant internal security risks that threaten IP networks. NeoScale's centralized and transparent approach has the potential to provide strong storage data protection that is manageable and cost-effective."

CryptoStor appliances incorporate NeoScale's Stateful Storage Processing technology. The technology allows enterprises to enforce a set of centralized, policy-based encryption and data access rules to be dynamically applied to storage network data at line-rates.

According to the company, NeoScale's SecurStor media privacy technology protects data written to both tape and storage subsystems at the block level. This standards-based encryption is application, protocol and platform transparent, and maintains the integrity of existing data availability and recovery processes.

During the next few quarters, NeoScale plans to introduce additional network storage security appliances to support IP-based network storage, backup and replication applications. NeoScale said it also plans to support emerging and de facto standards to address IP, NAS and iSCSI which will further enhance disaster recovery and managed storage services.

The company will begin soon interoperability testing with storage systems vendors and plans to achieve SNIA SANmark certification. General availability is expected later this year.

Founded in June 2000, NeoScale is backed by Bay Partners and LightSpeed Venture Partners and has received over $13 million in its first round venture funding.


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