Micron Technology, Inc., today introduced a new version of its popular RealSSD C400, featuring self encryption for unmatched data security. The C400 SED (Self-Encrypting Drive) is based on the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) Opal specifications and provides a hardware-based answer for the increasing wave of data breaches that continue to impact computer users and enterprises worldwide.
Security breaches caused by malicious attacks are on the rise, according to the recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. While it's notable that the increase in small-scale external attacks doesn't rely on highly sophisticated approaches, encryption is widely credited as the first choice for the most affordable security solution for deterring such intrusions.
"Self-encrypting drives represent the future of data protection," said Dr. Joerg Borchert, 2011 president and chairman of the nonprofit Trusted Computing Group. "Hardware encryption provides the strongest security and best performance, and solid-state technology like Micron's will provide even quicker data access."
The C400 SED's encryption capabilities are delivered through a hardware-based, AES-256-bit encryption engine and advanced security firmware. Micron's firmware is designed to comply with the TCG Opal specification. TCG Opal is an open industry standard that provides a verifiable path for companies who need to prove they're compliant with tough data security regulations when devices or drives are lost or stolen.
Like all hardware-encryption, the drive works in conjunction with an encryption management system. Micron's C400 SED solution was built in partnership with leading encryption management provider Wave Systems. Wave's EMBASSY® management software provides policy-based access controls, comprehensive reporting, directory services integration and end-user access recovery that allows IT to cost-effectively implement and administer endpoint encryption. Importantly, Wave's management software gives IT confidence that data is protected in the event that a computer—or the drive itself—is lost or stolen.
"Micron is a true innovator in the field of flash-based storage devices and we applaud their decision to incorporate Opal-based encryption on their new C400 drives," said Steven Sprague, CEO and President of Wave Systems. "By incorporating self-encryption in the C400 SED, Micron provides not only outstanding performance, but also the peace of mind that confidential information stored on a laptop is secure. Wave is excited about this new partnership with Micron and we look forward to providing our customers with a high performance SSD with strong data protection capabilities."
The security and reliability of Micron's C400 SED was designed for large corporations, government systems and other multiple-user networks that require maximum security without cumbersome workflow interruptions or decreased performance.
The C400's encryption key is protected within drive hardware—separate from the host. This is one reason why hardware-based encryption is superior to software encryption (an alternative solution that stores the encryption key in the computer's memory, where it's vulnerable to attack). Micron's SED offers stronger security because the encryption key never leaves the drive. User authentication is performed by the drive prior to starting the operating system, ensuring independence from the operating system. Another disadvantage of software-based encryption is its dependence on the computer's processor, which can degrade performance. In contrast, Micron's C400 SED performs all encryption inside the SSD's controller, ensuring no system performance degradation.
"The C400 SED will help users and IT teams alike to sleep better at night. We've leveraged our popular client SSD and partnered with the leading encryption management vendor to create a product that provides a solid defense against data theft," said Justin Sykes, Micron's general manager of client SSD solutions. "With security breaches increasing for every type of user, this solution scales without sacrificing high performance or reliability."
The C400 SED SSD is available in 128-, 256-, and 512GB capacities, a SATA 6Gb/s interface, and 2.5 and 1.8-inch form factors. The drive's sophisticated NAND management delivers sequential read and write speeds of up to 500 MB/s and 260 MB/s respectively — the same high performance as Micron's popular C400. The drive will be sampling and in production in the fourth quarter of this year and will be available through Micron's global distribution network.