Data Security – Just a finger swipe away
May 2008 | By Damon Armour, ITS Security Officer
How many of us take our work home with us? Do you store that information on a flash drive or disk? If you happen to lose that storage device, would that create any undue hardship on the institution or yourself? What would you say if you could add a layer of security to that storage device that only requires a swipe of your finger?
All institutional data must be safeguarded from loss, theft, or inappropriate access. The best method to protect the institution's data is through the use of servers in the ITS Data Center, which are secure and backed up nightly. This is, of course, if you are working on campus. But when off campus, access to the servers is limited; yet our safeguarding responsibilities are not reduced.
Recently, Apricorn, Inc., loaned ITS an Aegis Bio drive to test. This drive contains 128-bit AES encryption, which is an adopted standard for encryption for the U.S. government. Since 2006, it is one of the most popular algorithms used in the market. Most encrypted storage media require a complex password in order to unlock so you can access the data. I’m sure that if you are like me, having to remember another complex password is not high on you list. The Aegis Bio gives the advantage of using a scan of your fingerprint to unlock the storage drive for use. The software is very easy to set up and follow. Within a matter of minutes, you have a protected storage device that you can feel more secure about storing your personal and institutional data on if you need to work on the go.
The device gets its power from your PC’s USB port. It supports USB 2.0, and has storage sizes ranging from 80 GB up to 320 GB.
This is merely one option to use when traveling with data or taking work home. There are other options on the market today. One tool that is available for free is a program call TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt is a great, free, open-source disk encryption software for Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux, but it does not offer the simplicity of fingerprint scanning.
There have been recent occurrences of institutions losing valuable data by placing information on insecure mobile storage. IT Security can assist in finding the tools to help protect institutional data, but we all share in the responsibility. Let’s make this a joint venture to protect ASU’s valuable data.
If you want to get more details on these options, the websites are http://www.apricorn.com. More details on TrueCrypt can be found at http://www.truecrypt.com. Any questions can be sent to Damon Armour at email@example.com.