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6/5/2006
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Brief: PGP Unveils Auto Data Encryption Technology

PGP NetShare automatically encrypts files as they're saved to a specific folder and allows only authorized users to access those files.

PGP on Monday unveiled PGP NetShare, an application designed to automatically encrypt files as they are saved to a specific folder and enable authorized users to access those files from across the network.

PGP's current product, PGP Universal, provides a management console for encrypting data in a variety of formats, including e-mail, instant messages and data residing on mobile PCs. With PGP NetShare, specific folders or directories are set up to be protected by NetShare, said John Dasher, director of product management at PGP. Files saved to those folders or directories are automatically encrypted, and that encryption stays with the file if it is moved later.

"If an authorized user drags such a file to a USB drive to bring it home, he can read it, but if the device is lost, others can't access the data," Dasher said.

The encryption and decryption of the data is done on the user's computing device, not on the server, and does not impact the performance of the server, he added.

PGP NetShare can be configured to allow multiple users to access files stored with encryption in the specific directories or folders while ensuring that those unauthorized to access the data, including IT administrators, can do normal backups and restores of the data, Dasher said.

"With NetShare, you can say only Bob, Mary and Joe have access to a folder," he said. "So any file copied or dragged to the folder is protected by encryption. It's transparent to the IT administrator, who can back up or restore the files. But they can't read individual files. So you have a complete separation of roles."

To prevent the inability to access data if authorized users leave the company, PGP NetShare includes an additional decryption key that allows access by corporate executives, Dasher said. Such keys are typically split between multiple executives who need to come together to use them to prevent any one of the executives from accessing the data on his or her own, Dasher said.

"The responsibility is distributed, so a company can show it has sound practices in place," he said.

Andrew Krcik, vice president of marketing at PGP, said PGP uses channel partners to bring its technology to more than 30,000 commercial customers worldwide, including about 80 of Fortune 100 corporations. Solution providers can sell the PGP NetShare software and offer deployment services to customers, ranging from company departments and midsize firms to enterprises, he said.

"Most customers require a modest amount of deployment support," Krcik said.

Solution providers may work with a customer's storage or security specialists, or both, according to Dasher. "Who first decides to make the purchase is not an issue," he said. "One doesn't have to wait for the other. Storage and security tend to be separate expertise. Storage partners don't need to become security experts."

PGP NetShare is going into beta testing late this month, and general availability is expected early in the fourth quarter. The product is expected to be priced at $150 per unique user, which is defined as someone who puts data into or pulls data from a folder or directory protected by NetShare, Krcik said.

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