September 11, 2006 9:35 PM PDT

IBM debuts encrypting tape drive

Big Blue on Tuesday plans to unveil its IBM System Storage TS1120, designed to store and encrypt data on tape drives.

IBM's TS1120 aims to allow users to encrypt data at a tape level, whether they are using Big Blue mainframes or Unix systems, for example. The drives will also allow users to encrypt data without requiring certain applications be installed.

"As customers lose data and new legislation is passed...it's important for people to protect data," said Randy Middlebrooks, IBM's offering manager for enterprise storage. He added that tape drives are still one of the primary mechanisms businesses use to store data.

The TS1120, which is immediately available, is expected to carry a list price of $35,500.

IBM expects customers in the health care, insurance and finance industries to be big buyers of the encrypted tape drives, using it as a means to store customer data. Changes in the regulatory climate have placed greater privacy and security requirements on companies' maintenance of customer records, as well as corporate documents.

IBM is ramping up its efforts to bake encryption into its technology. Last April, the company unveiled its Secure Blue technology, which is designed to encrypt and decrypt data as it makes it way through a processor.

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