Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Catching the Wave

You have to admire the perseverance of a vendor whose vision is miles ahead of the market, and then fights, scratches, claws, and just hangs on until they find customer traction. This has been the case with Wave Systems, an early evangelist of placing and managing keys in secure hardware, particularly the TPM as defined by the Trusted Computing Group. For Wave there has always the lingering question of “if the idea is so good, why aren’t companies buying”? Well, it looks like the time has come and they’re now underway with two primary use cases:

Secure remote access with intrinsic two-factor authentication. Using the secret key from the TPM turns the laptop into the “something you have” factor to go along with the password (“something you know”). Enterprises not only save money by reducing token purchases, they also gain secure access while giving users and security administrators one less thing to worry about.

Transparently encrypt the hard drive of remote users. Enterprises that need to protect intellectual property or regulated data on laptops are getting tired of trying to administer DLP or DRM at the endpoint. A simpler solution is to transparently encrypt data on the hard drive using a secret key from the TPM. It is more secure, easier to manage, and may cost less. The most noteworthy implementations support Bitlocker and Samsung and Seagate self-encrypting hard drives.

Wave Systems sells software that makes administration of keys and TPMs practical for larger organizations that need to secure remote access and locally stored data. They’re moving forward and have some impressive references to their credit, including Mazda, Papa Gino’s, and Boston Medical Center. It’s nice to see their perseverance paying off.