Dell embraces encryption with new Credant deal

Dell is offering its business customers a way to get encryption with less hassle. From today, any business system can have Credant’s full-disk encryption software factory installed on any business laptop, desktop or workstation.

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Dell is offering its business customers a way to get encryption with less hassle. From today, any business system can have Credant’s full-disk encryption software factory installed on any business laptop, desktop or workstation.

The software on offer is Credant’s Mobile Guardian ‘Dell Edition’, which allows a customer to buy encryption as they would any other add-on, on any number of systems right down to single orders. The software is now available on Precision workstations, OptiPlex desktops, and Latitude laptops.

Available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems across XP, Vista and Windows 7, the software installs a layer of transparent encryption which secures the hard drive when the machine is turned off, whether the user is aware of it or not. Access is gained at boot time using a passphrase.

In a related announcement, Credant announced the release of a new product, the FDE (full disk encryption) Manager, software that allows customers to self-manage Mobile Guardian without the need for a full-blown management system.

In theory, the deal between the two should make it easy for smaller companies and even individuals to get encryption installed on their PCs without having to do it themselves as a retro install. Larger companies would previously have had to buy such software as a part of a volume order from a specialist supplier.

“The Credant Mobile Guardian Dell Edition solution meets that critical need and provides compliance-ready data encryption with minimal impact on operational processes and the user experience,” said Dell’s commercial client product group VP, Steve Lalla, hinting at the deeper currents that might lie behind this deal and its timing.

For Dell to get onboard, it suggests that customer demand must be rising for encryption technology after years where take-up has been slow. Compliance is likely to be the growth factor. The company has offered FDE-based encryption as an option before, although that was the relatively expensive systems such as Seagate’s Momentus FDE drives. It also limited the technology to 2.5 inch laptop machines.

The price quoted on the US Dell website for Credant Mobile Guardian (100-249 users) is $118.99 as a one-off cost. UK prices have yet to be confirmed.

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