The implications of the theft of a PC or notebook system are far worse than the mere expense of replacing the hardware; although insurance may pay for the cost of the missing computer, the real concern is the missing data. Enter disk encryption: While several methods are on the market to encrypt files or directories, WinMagic says it has the answer to protecting data with their SecureDoc line of disk encryption products.
WinMagic’s SecureDoc product line encrypts a user’s entire hard disk to ensure protection for confidential and sensitive data on portable systems, desktop PCs, laptops and PDA devices.
SecureDoc is built on the PKCS#11 standard and incorporates the AES 256-bit encryption algorithm to build an encryption capability that meets validations for Common Criteria and FIPS 140-1 Level 2 government standards. The optional Fortezza-based version of SecureDoc is the only disk encryption software certified by the National Security Agency to safeguard U.S. government secret-level information.
Simply put, SecureDoc’s encryption capabilities will meet the needs of most organizations.
While the product’s encryption ability is impressive, usability will be the deciding factor for a product of this nature. Luckily, WinMagic took the end users’ needs to heart and built what amounts to a seamless experience. The product encrypts and decrypts data behind the scenes and in realtime; end users will not even notice the process taking place. Although the encryption/decryption process saddles the system with a performance hit, most standard tasks will not be impacted, thanks in part to WinMagic’s ultra-efficient algorithms and the inherent speed of today’s processors.
SecureDoc works with MS Windows versions 98 and above. The product installs as part of the system boot architecture and asks for authentication before the native OS brings up a logon screen. That style of authentication prevents an intruder from bypassing the encryption capabilities of the product.
SecureDoc prompts users to select the key type to be authenticated against. Users can choose between a PKI (public-key infrastructure) system, authenticate against a USB token/SmartCard or enter a fixed password, all of which depend on the configuration options selected at the time of deployment.
Installation of the product is straightforward but lengthy when disks are converted over to an encrypted format. The conversion process can take anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour, depending upon system speed and drive size. However, SecureDoc has the ability to be an “install and forget” solution—install it once and everything takes place behind the scenes with very little fuss or muss.
Included documentation is a bit on the weak side, with most of the product’s features and capabilities hidden deep within electronic versions of the manuals, which are included on the install CD. That aside, SecureDoc provides everything one would need to protect a drive or removable media from compromise.
Winmagic offers a simple three-tier channel program and levels are determined by market size and VAR sales commitments. Margins are based upon the partner level and are set at 20 percent, 25 percent and 30 percent. The company offers lead distribution, sales and marketing support, pre-sales technical support and access to the WinMagic partner Web site for authorized partners.
There are no costs to become a partner, but prospective partners must commit to training and sales goals, which are determined on a case-by-case basis and driven by the level desired.
Although WinMagic’s channel program is still in its infancy, SecureDoc’s capabilities make up for the lack of a robust channel presence. Partners should still be able to garner profit from the platform and associated services.