Dell ships laptops with self-encrypting drives

Seagate announces the availability of its new, higher-capacity, self-encrypting Momentus drives

Dell announced Monday that it is offering Seagate's self-encrypting hard drives in its Latitude laptops, Precision Mobile Workstations and OptiPlex desktops as a security precaution to those machines being lost or stolen. Seagate also announced today that it has begun shipping its 320GB and 500GB self-encrypting disk drives to laptop manufacturers worldwide.

Seagate shipped its first 160GB, self-encrypting drive to a handful of resellers about a year and a half ago. But this announcement marks the first generally available release of Seagate's new, higher-capacity, self-encrypting Momentus drives.

Seagate said it will also to certify McAfee's ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) management software for use with the drives. EPO is an enterprise-class tool for security management that, among other tasks, sets up additional layers of authentication on the drives such as biometrics and smart cards. Dell is not yet offering ePO installed at the factory, but it is offering Wave Systems' Embassy Trust Suite 5.0 encryption management software, according to Seagate.

Seagate is offering two versions of its Momentus drive for laptops, a stand-alone model that can be used by individual end-users and an enterprise drive that comes with DriveTrust firmware, which allows management applications to automatically discover and manage the drive.

The Momentus drives come in 5,400rpm and 7,200rpm models. Seagate also still sells its earlier encrypting Momentus models -- a 120GB, 5400rpm drive and a 160GB model that runs at 7,200rpm. The typical upgrade price is US$139 and $149, respectively, according to Seagate.

While Dell has been shipping systems with Seagate's self-encrypting 5,400rpm Momentus laptop drive, Seagate said the 320GB and 500GB drives are the first higher-capacity drives and 7,200rpm drives to be shipped with the laptops.

Chris Cahalin, manager of network operations for Papa Gino's and D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, a Massachusetts-based fast food chain, said approximately 80 of his company's 250 Dell laptops now have the new Seagate self-encrypting drives to protect corporate data in the hands of district managers who are often in the field.

"It encrypts as fast as the system can write to a drive. It's seamless, and there's no overhead as there is with software encryption," Cahalin said. Hardware-based encryption also helps him comply with the new Massachusetts law (201 CMR 17) that requires personal information to be protected by passwords or some form of biometric authentication.

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