ASI To Offer Seagate's Encrypting Hard Drive In Notebooks

ASI is the first computer maker to ship product with the Seagate security drive. Seagate expects other computer makers to offer the drive in the next several months.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

March 12, 2007

2 Min Read

Targeting the growing corporate demand for better mobile PC security, ASI Computer Technologies next month plans to offer notebook computers with Seagate Technology's new encrypting hard disk drive.

ASI, based in Markham, Ontario, plans to offer the Momentus 5400 FDE.2 hard drive in the non-branded ASI C8015 notebook, which would include Wave Systems Corp.'s security management software for corporate deployments. The 2.5-inch, full disc encryption drive features up to 160 Gbytes of capacity and AES encryption, a standard developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The notebook will also include a biometric fingerprint reader.

ASI is aiming its new mobile PC at resellers that target industries requiring tight security to meet regulatory demands. Such industries include health care, legal, and financial. Government agencies also are a target. Encrypting hard drives is one way to protect against data breaches resulting from a lost or stolen PC.

Last year, a number of high-profile cases brought the issue of data encryption in the limelight. Laptop thefts resulted in the release of personal information from more than 540,000 N.Y. state workers, 13,000 Washington, D.C., ING retirement plan participants, 196,000 Hewlett-Packard employees in a Fidelity benefit and defined contribution plan, and 17,000 patients of Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. Perhaps the most notorious was the lost of a U.S. Veterans Administration USB hard drive and a laptop with more than 26 million records.

The Seagate Momentus 5400 FDE.2 encrypts all stored data. Information is decrypted when taken out of the drive. The Wave software also can be used to encrypt data sent via e-mail. Seagate, the largest U.S. hard drive maker, sells its encrypting drive for about 30% to 40% more than standard products.

ASI is the first computer maker to ship product with the Seagate security drive, which has been listed on the company's Web site since last month. Seagate, based in Scotts Valley, Calif., expects other computer makers to offer the drive in the next several months. The drive is scheduled for release to computer parts retailers in the middle of the year.

Meanwhile, Seagate on Monday released to its worldwide distribution channel the Momentus 7200.2, a 7200-RPM notebook hard drive that's offered with an optional free-fall sensor to help prevent drive damage and data loss when a laptop is dropped. The sensor detects changes in acceleration equal to the force of gravity, and then parks the head off the disc to prevent contact with the platter in a free fall of as little as 8 inches. The drive can survive maximum falls of about desk height.

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