Dell on Thursday made a variety of security-minded announcements, ranging from enhancements to its Dropbox for Business integration, to a new commercial PC advertised with best-in-class encryption capabilities. With the latest offerings, the company, which went private late last year, hopes to demonstrate that its security software has matured into an end-to-end suite that can scale for customers of all types.
Announced in December, Dell's partnership with Dropbox pairs Dropbox for Business with Dell's Data Protection Cloud Edition (CE). CE is one element in the Data Protection family, which includes interrelated malware protection, authentication, and encryption products.
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New CE features announced this week include a firm separation between the personal and work data that users store in Dropbox. CE encrypts and provides management tools only for company files. According to Dell, this means businesses can keep data secure even while allowing employees to access both personal and business accounts from any Dropbox app.
With the new features, CE customers can also use Dropbox's one-click sharing feature while maintaining file-level encryption. Dell additionally extended remote wipe capabilities, previously available only in the Dropbox for Business admin tools, to the Data Protection CE admin console.
With products such as CE, Dell hopes to bring enterprise-class security resources to small and midsized businesses. Pitched as turnkey products that take the complexity out of BYOD programs and other device and data-management challenges, Dell's Data Protection lineup exemplifies the company's ongoing effort to redefine itself as not only a PC and server manufacturer, but also a leading enterprise software player.
Dell also announced Dell Data Protection Hardware Crypto Accelerator (HCA). Available on select Dell Latitude, Optiplex, and Precision PCs, HCA supports self-encrypting drives that make encryption keys inaccessible if a device is tampered with. Dell claims HCA won't impact computing performance, and that the product eliminates the need to purchase separate, self-encrypting drives. Dell also said HCA is the only commercially available product to achieve the US government's FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification.
Dell also announced the OptiPlex 9030, a new all-in-one business PC that supports not only HCA, but also other security-minded features, such as single sign-on and authentication through Dell Data Protection Security Tools. The 9030 is available in Intel i3, i5, and i7-based configurations, all of which rely on Intel's integrated graphics. The Optiplex's 23-inch monitor is non-touch by default, but a touchscreen option is available as well. It ships with Windows 7 Professional (though a Windows 8.1 Pro license is also included) and offers up to 8 GB of RAM. The new Optiplex starts around $1,300, though some models on Dell's website are currently significantly cheaper. The 9030 is available immediately.
It's been a busy week of announcements for Dell. Earlier this week, at the Dell User Forum in Miami, the company announced not only new storage arrays designed to bring enterprise-class power to midmarket customers, but also a partnership with startup Nutanix that could help Dell establish itself as a software-defined storage leader. Dell also used the event to launch a variety of workload-specific appliances, including products designed to accelerate performance in MySQL, Sybase, MongoDB, Oracle 12c, and Cloudera, among others.
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