U.K.-based security vendor Sophos Ltd. has released a new encryption solution designed to make shielding documents from unauthorized viewers and complying with data privacy regulations dramatically simpler.
Called Sophos SafeGuard Encryption 8, the new system encrypts all of an organization’s documents by default, relieving IT managers and channel pros of the manual data classification burdens competing solutions often impose.
“You don’t have to figure out what data’s important or not important, or what users should have encryption or what users shouldn’t. It’s just always on,” says Marty Ward, vice president of product marketing at Sophos. Documents remain encrypted as well wherever users send or store them, including popular but potentially insecure consumer-oriented file sync and share solutions like Dropbox.
“We don’t care if it’s on your laptop, your mobile device, your tablet, or in the cloud. It’s safe everywhere,” Ward says. Companies can even equip people outside the organization to decrypt and re-encrypt documents using specially provided pass codes.
“Our encryption will follow that data wherever it goes, so it’s protected no matter where you send it,” Ward states.
Sophos says it’s the first vendor to provide always-on encryption across multiple platforms, in this case Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It also claims the title of first encryption solution provider to verify the identity not just of users before decrypting a file but of their devices and applications as well. SafeGuard Encryption 8 automatically prevents people from opening protected documents on PCs, tablets, and smartphones it doesn’t recognize, or in unfamiliar installations of Microsoft Word and other productivity tools. That model maximizes security, but could pose problems for mobile workers trying to access files from a hotel business center, for example.
“There’s potentially some issues depending on the policy your company has set up,” Ward concedes.
Significantly, Sophos’s new encryption tool integrates with the Heartbeat technology the company introduced last year, which synchronizes activity across multiple security systems. If the Sophos Endpoint solution detects an infection, for example, SafeGuard Encryption 8 automatically bars users from opening encrypted documents until the incident is resolved. Sophos Mobile Control, meanwhile, seamlessly extends file access rights defined in SafeGuard Encryption 8 to smartphones and tablets.
According to Ward, that multi-solution coordination creates cross-sale openings for MSPs and VARs.
“It gives them the opportunity to walk in now with an endpoint plus mobile plus encryption solution, as opposed to walking in and just getting one of those in the deal,” he says.
Other channel benefits enabled by SafeGuard Encryption 8, he continues, include easier, more complete compliance with HIPAA, PCI DSS, and other data privacy regulations as well as new ways to initiate sales conversations with the larger businesses that tend to be the most avid buyers of encryption tools.
Licensing for the new solution is available on both a perpetual and annual subscription basis. Subscription fees start at $40 per seat per year, and scale down from there based on order volume.
“It’s very reasonable for SMB,” Ward observes.