Is data security SSD’s new Achilles’ heel?

Delete billboard by Ji Lee image - Flickr user Barry Hoggard - CC

Companies are steadily alleviating two of the common pain points related to solid-state drive technology: price and longevity. But another has emerged: data security.

One of Today’s 10 links is this InformationWeek article on how traditional methods of wiping data from hard drives aren’t as effective on SSDs. University of California at San Diego researchers were able to pluck data from flash chips directly — with varying degrees of completeness — after a variety of file-sanitizing techniques.

It matters because if your company is spending money on security solutions, it’s wasted if sensitive data is walked out the front door in the form of a retired or repurposed drive. And while SSDs are a rarity — comparatively speaking — some recent data suggests SSDs will be commonplace sooner rather than later.

By any measure, SSDs aren’t the dominant way of storing data today, but their use is increasing. According to the recent InformationWeek Analytics State of Enterprise Storage Survey, nearly one-quarter of organizations have deployed SSDs in their data center, and more than half plan to either initiate or increase their use of SSDs this year.

The answer: Data encryption.

This is particularly important for SSD-equipped notebooks, where the energy efficient storage may extend battery life, but do nothing to prevent loss and theft. (Windows and Mac OS both support drive encryption.) This is also an opportunity for security vendors and startups to market solutions that are able to securely (and remotely?) wipe data from solid-state drives. For SSD vendors, built-in encryption is a nice marketing bullet point that’s sure to capture the attention of IT managers as this story makes the rounds.

So while it’s a scary situation to be grappling with so early in SSD’s rise, the advent of green data storage could be (inadvertently) forcing businesses to take a tougher stance toward security. That, as they say, is a good thing.

Image credit: Barry Hoggard – Flickr – CC

by Pedro Hernandez on February 22, 2011 · 0 comments

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