Unitrends encrypts on backup appliances

By Kevin Komiega

—Unitrends, a maker of disk-based data protection products, is tightening security on its appliances with the introduction of InCrypt, a security option that encrypts data stored on the company's Data Protection Unit (DPU) and Data Protection Vault (DPV) systems.

InCrypt uses 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption to secure backup data as it arrives from the network. All data is encrypted before it is processed or stored in memory or on disk, and the data remains encrypted while at rest on an on-site DPU or off-site DPV, in transit between the two systems, or on archive disks at remote locations.

"Data is encrypted from the moment it comes in, while it's at rest, and in-flight," says Mark Phillippi, vice president of product management at Unitrends. "There is never a time in the entire business continuity process when the data is not encrypted."

Phillippi claims adding InCrypt will not impact system performance. By performing both compression and encryption on an integrated co-processor card, multiple reads/writes are avoided, and the throughput of InCrypt matches the overall performance of the server, network, and backup operations, according to Phillippi.

There are several obstacles to adoption when it comes to real-time encryption of data at the backup device, including performance hits, cost, and the complexity of key management. To combat key management headaches, Unitrends developed the InCrypt Key Management Table, which allows for periodic key changes and the simultaneous management of multiple keys. The Key Management Table operates without user interaction and provides pass-phrase and key management to protect against data loss. A single, current key provides access to all data and, as keys are refreshed or changed, all legacy keys are accessible through a new key, providing added protection from lost keys in long-term archives.

Unitrends' existing customers can add InCrypt to DPU and DPV systems via a software update and installation of an encryption co-processor card. InCrypt is available through Unitrends' resellers and is priced at $3,995 for a 2U appliance and $5,995 for 3U and 5U models.

This article was originally published on July 30, 2007