Getting the best deal on full-disk encryption

GCN Quickfind No. 863

Will budgets be destroyed by the cost of a full-disk encryption solution? Maybe not. "In the end, tough negotiating is what you do to get the price. With a blank purchase order, it's probably going to make it easier to get a good price," said John Girard, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Girard tells the story of a client who had 2,000 employees but only needed to protect the data on 800 notebooks. "It turned out that the discount they would get for the full 2000 was so good, they actually ended up paying less."

The organization still ended up absorbing some extra setup costs and help-desk time, but they ultimately bought a simpler, one-stop solution. "If you don't do all the machines, and you have a problem with one of the machines, you're going to have to start all over again anyway. Plus, you'll have the embarrassment. It may just be easier to get it out of the way," Girard said.

Girard offers other ways to drive down the cost of implementation. One idea: "Look at other contracts you've got. Chances are good a systems integrator will offer one of these products. You may be able to get this added to your next image update much more cheaply than doing it yourself. And you can always ask for discounts on upgrade or training."

David Vergara, marketing director at CheckPoint, which sells Pointsec FDE software, agrees that bulk orders bring the pricing down to competitive levels.

No doubt FDE will cost. For instance, a hard drive from Seagate capable of full encryption will cost probably about 40 percent more than a plain vanilla hard drive, said Joni Clark, Seagate's Notebook Marketing Manager, but in the long run, it still may be a good deal.

"When you look at the whole price of the laptop, it's relatively insignificant; when you multiply that out by how many people you have, it's significant. But remember what you're trying to accomplish. The benefit outweighs the cost," said Chris Rushkin, systems security analyst at California's Franchise Tax Board. "We have the security of knowing that if a laptop gets stolen out of a car or airport, the data is still confidential." '

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