Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kingston Targets Flash For the Enterprise

InternetNews reports that memory maker Kingston Technology is targeting USB drives at the enterprise, but will need to overcome the fear many companies have that "ousted or disgruntled employees will plug them into computers and make off with sensitive corporate information to use it for ill gains."

Kingston is introducing DataTraveler Elite Privacy Edition, "a USB Flash drive that locks down data with 128-bit AES encryption, a powerful security protocol," stores up to 4 gigabytes (GB), and "is tailored to meet security and compliance requirements for businesses. If the drive is ever lost or stolen, the integrity of the data stored on the device remains intact."

According to the articel, "the drive also features a complex password protocol and a mechanism that locks out attackers after 25 consecutive failed password attempts, ensuring information is accessible only by authorized users." Pricing starts at $48 for 256 megabytes, to $347 for the 4GB gadget.

Gartner analyst Joseph Unsworth pointed out that enterprises depending "on keeping certain data sacred, such as those in financial, government and health care markets, need products that use robust encryption technologies like AES." He said, "The reason why a lot of U.S. companies aren't rolling out Flash drives is that they're scared of them. There's a lot that can be at risk there. Having the IT manager partitioning out these drives and giving administration rights is going to be important. IT managers are going to want to be able to manage these products and help minimize the risk associated with them."

In a broader sense, Unsworth pointed out that "market evidence suggests the enterprise presents a big opportunity for the Flash drive makers, which include SanDisk, Kingston, Lexar (soon to be Micron) and Toshiba."

According to Unsworth, "51.7 million USB Flash drives shipped in 2004. Only 21 percent were purchased through the enterprise channels, while 67 percent were purchased from the consumer channels. But during that same year, 51 percent of PCs were bought for the enterprise."

Unsworth remarked that "while there isn't a direct correlation between USB Flash drives and PCs, USB drives are still centered around the PC." He stated, "So that spells a very large opportunity given the installed base of PCs in the enterprise and the fact that enterprise is not as price-sensitive as consumers. They're willing to pay for increased security because, there is a lot at risk here for some of these companies."