By Ralph Figueiredo
There are several reasons/benefits to hosting or deploying laptop encryption as a SaaS. Primarily, encryption is not an internal core competency and therefore getting laptop encryption through a SaaS delivery mechanism makes a lot of sense. One of the biggest concerns with SaaS or Hosted services is that confidential data might be stored in the cloud. This does not apply to Hosted Disk Encryption or Managed Laptop Encryption SaaS, as no confidential information is exchanged or stored by the encryption cloud provider. What’s managed in the cloud is the encryption keyserver which stores the policies, user lists and logs and reports but no customer data is exchanged. The encryption keyserver is a hardened appliance and the data store is also encrypted. Lastly, if the hosted server were ever compromised by a hacker, the hacker would need to have the encrypted laptop in his/her possession at the same time, in order to compromise the encryption on that device.
Additional benefits of using a cloud provider for hosted disk encryption is that the encryption management servers are constantly maintained and updated and upgraded by the encryption service provider. Flexibility in the form of different, unique packages that can be downloaded by admins depending on which policy group users belong to is an added benefit.
In most cases however, the encryption management server needs to connect to Active Directory or a LDAP server to enable deploying encryption to specific groups of users within specific departments like finance and sales for instance. Managed laptop encryption or hosted disk encryption especially comes in handy when a company may have multiple active directories running or they may have several users not on AD or LDAP altogether. A Laptop Encryption SaaS is a big benefit here, as each customer gets their own custom built cloud LDAP server which is synced with their cloud encryption management server, and customer admins can add or remove users and do basic admin on their own if they so desire.
From talking to companies that use hosted disk encryption, this seems to be the quickest and easiest way to get their laptops encrypted for users not on the corporate AD or remote employees that don’t connect to the corporate network often enough for policy updates and software upgrades. Since the encryption management server and LDAP are both in the cloud, the encrypted laptops can connect to them to download updated policies (if applicable) without needing a connection to the corporate network. All they need is to be online and they automatically download updates when available.
Finally, several organization are offloading non business-critical operations to a cloud or managed service provider due to constrained internal resources. Laptop encryption is one of those IT concerns that can easily be delivered and managed via a cloud service provider.
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