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Toshiba Designs Self-Destruct Hard Drives for Enterprise Users

Added by on Jan 9, 2013
Topic: Security & Resiliency

Electronics manufacturer Toshiba has announced four new self-encrypting, enterprise-grade solid state drives and mobile hard disks with cryptographic erase functionality. The 2.5-inch models feature government-grade 256-bit AES encryption and come in capacities up to 1.6 terabytes. These self-destruct hard drives are being marketed to IT administrators seeking a better way to prevent costly data breaches.

Hard Disc CrashAccording to a press release from Toshiba, the cryptographic-erase features work by regenerating each drive's encryption key, then rendering all the data on the drive invalidated and permanently inaccessible. The "self-destruction" of the data can be triggered by several means, such as when a drive is accessed by an unauthorized host or when a pre-determined number of authentication failures occur.

"Toshiba's latest eSSD and mobile HDD SED models provide the advanced security features companies need to properly sanitize SSDs in server and storage subsystems and ensure the security of private data on HDDs in mobile and desktop PCs to help prevent costly data breaches," says Toshiba Storage Products Business product manager Scott Wright.

The drives will be available in the first quarter of 2013.

The Benefits of Cryptographic-Erase

Repurposing or disposing of hard drives with sensitive information on them has often been a time-consuming, tedious procedure in the past, especially as the size of hard drives has increased, requiring much more time to overwrite the data using a standard disk-erase method. The other alternatives have been to degauss, which is often unreliable; flat-out destruction of the drives, which wastes storage and has a negative environmental impact; shipping the drives to a specialist firm to have them wiped, which leaves data vulnerable when in transit; or simply warehousing drives, which not only wastes space on a non-producing asset but also leaves data exposed to theft.

For midsize businesses seeking an easier approach to wiping drives, crypto-erase might fit the bill, as it only takes a few seconds and protects the data with encryption suitable for the military. AES has been widely implemented in the government and by large corporations seeking a foolproof way to safeguard sensitive data from prying eyes, and while future technology that can easily penetrate it may be developed, the method is currently regarded as fail-safe.

Self-destruct hard drives such as these can both save time and provide peace of mind for IT managers at midsize business or enterprises, but care should be taken to ensure data redundancy in the event of an accidental triggering of the crypto-erase function.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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