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LOS ANGELES – Encryption is a key for Stan Cadiente and his staff at California Credit Union, where the job of securing data has taken on growing importance in the wake of industry data breaches, new rules and regulations and the escalating complexity of the CU’s own storage environment. Cadiente is vice president of IT at the $1 billion CU, which is encrypting backup data tapes with a pair of SCSI-based encryption appliances from NeoScale Systems of Milpitas, Calif. One of the CryptoStor devices resides on the data path between the credit union’s IntegraSys core processing server and the storage area, where it encrypts transaction data that’s then shipped by tape to an offsite storage facility. The other, Cadiente says, is being tested now at the credit union’s disaster recovery setup, also offsite at a SunGuard center. Encrypting tapes already was a topic at California CU when federal and state regulations began raising the bar for protecting consumer privacy at the same time news was breaking around the country of backup tapes lost in transit. “We had wanted a solution anyway and all that just really hastened the process,” Cadiente says. He says the CU went with a hardware appliance “because our 50- to 60-gig storage databases were just too big for software, really.” Cadiente says he also likes the transparency of the NeoScale devices. “You never want to interrupt a good environment, which we already had,” the IT vice president says. “A lot of times in the technology sector, people can tend to create problems by adding products and services and having to rearrange everything to accommodate them. “We didn’t want to do that and we didn’t have to do that with the NeoScale appliances. We had some driver issues at first, but once we got that resolved, it’s really worked out well for us.” The security requirements are about to get somewhat more complex at California CU, however. The IT staff is creating a storage area network that will require locking down data from third-party application databases, active directory information, e-mail, corporate documents, “really a lot of the functionality surrounding our core processes,” Cadiente says. Encrypting that environment will be more fluid and require more management, including keeping track of the keys that can unlock that data. Happy with the vendor’s service, the CU now is considering NeoScale’s latest offering, a centralized key management system the company is rolling out in the next few months. “CryptoStor KeyVault is the industry’s first open-security key management system. We’re using PKO (public key operations) to let organizations manage and distribute encryption keys both for our appliances and for other encryption vendors,” says Dore Rosenblum, vice president of marketing at NeoScale. “This will work in an environment like Stan’s with two or three sites as well as allow the migration of keys across multiple locations and with various business partners, such as offline processing of information needed to print checks,” he says. NeoScale Systems offers a range of products to encrypt SANs and other disk-based systems as well as tape drives. “They really are very different environments with different considerations for performance and optimatization,” Rosenblum says. “But there is one thing they have in common. “If you’re going to encrypt data in different locations, it really comes down to key management. That has to be effective, or you just end up with one-way encryption in a sense, because you can’t recover the data quickly when you do need it,” says Rosenblum. -

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