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BeCrypt, partnering with Juniper, launches USB-mounted US pre-invasionNick Selby, July 16, 2007 @ 8:46 pm ET
Reading, England-based mobile device security vendor BeCrypt Data Security has released the BeCrypt Trusted Client (BTC), and announced a strategic partnership with Juniper Networks. We’re covering BeCrypt’s full strategy, history and background, as well as the competitive landscape for this type of product, in our Market Insight Service but think it deserves mention here because of its clever use of open source and off-the-shelf technologies to add value to an existing Juniper product.
Juniper will use BTC as an add-on to its Secure Access secure sockets layer virtual private network (SSL-VPN) technology, to create a product that targets enterprises wishing to grant secure remote acess to large numbers of users from unmanaged endpoints like their home personal computers. BeCrypt’s day job is selling full disk encryption products certified to protect data on laptops at the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence that has been classified up to ‘top secret’, and has begun the FIPS certification process (but has virtually no presence) in the US.
BTC should certainly be sufficient to put BeCrypt on the radar of US companies, and that is BeCrypt’s strategy. It will be of interest to companies seeking a relatively inexpensive business continuity product — and, if they also need full disk encryption, so much the better.
BTC looks at the problem of business continuity as one of needing to get as many of a government department or enterprise on line in times when travel to the office is impossible. The product would cover the legions of employees without corporate managed machines like laptops who are needed in support and logistical roles within the firm.
BTC comes on a bootable USB stick that contains a strictly limited version of BeCrypt’s operating system which was derived from the Knoppix live Linux distribution. On the disk is a browser interface, a Juniper SSL VPN client and sufficient drivers to get the user up and running in a VPN session and nothing more.
BeCrypt’s version of Knoppix offers the user no root access or access to the hard disk or peripherals other than mouse and keyboard, and controls where the user can surf by referring all TCP/IP traffic requests to the SSL VPN client. Copy protection is robust (again, details are available in our full report).
Its approach offers technical advantages over virtualized environments (like those from people like Red Cannon) though users may complain because USB-mounted Knoppix takes a good while to boot, even compared to Windows XP.
Clever use of off-the-shelf and open source technology makes BTC a fresh offering; the industrial strength full disk encryption product with which BeCrypt makes its real money will make BeCrypt a serious if small player in the US market.
But the barrier to entry for imitators in the BTC arena is low, both technically and financially. Those low barriers mean that BTC could be a Razor-board – a cool product quickly knocked off. Knockers could include everyone in the SSL VPN world and everyone in the mobile device security world.
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