Strengths: Flexibility; standards-based; token support; overall performance
Weaknesses: For the casual user, not much
Verdict: A comprehensive, solid tool-set for enterprise level data encryption
This is not just a simple plug-and-play product. It is perhaps better thought of as an encryption methodology for those who understand IT security and wish to incorporate robust protection for sensitive data resident on their hard drives or portable media.
It enables user authentication at the pre-boot level, supporting passwords, tokens and even biometrics. WinMagic has worked closely with other organisations to provide a comprehensive choice of proven token technology - an example being the support for Precise Biometrics' combination smart card and fingerprint reader, and SafeNet's iKey USB token.
SecureDoc is based upon PKCS #11 standards and has been accredited to FIPS 140-1 level 2.
This readiness to engage with others is a positive sign, as is a solid standards-based foundation to the product, but what does it mean to its prospective users? First, you will be using a product that has been tried and tested in both public and private sector environments. Second, it is supported by various token suppliers, and third, it is based upon common standards.
However, a product of this kind does require a lot of planning prior to deployment, especially if you are intending to use keys and tokens. This is emphasised within the comprehensive PDF manual, which also provides a good deal of background information for the security administrator.
SecureDoc then provides the necessary tools and wizards for you to set up your infrastructure and encrypt your hard drives as seamlessly as possible. The various dialogues and wizards are logical enough, but do require a certain level of technical understanding from the user.
The SecureDoc Enterprise edition also features the SecureDoc Enterprise Server to facilitate large-scale network deployments and associated key and password management. Featuring a Microsoft SQL database, user and group credentials can be imported from an existing Active Directory if required.
In short, SecureDoc provides a proven, standards-based environment and associated tool set with which to design and implement data encryption, whether for a single workstation, a laptop or the entire enterprise.