Last week at CeBIT 2006 Seagate Technologies and SECUDE IT demonstrated how their products work together to better secure laptops. Together the companies' products protect data even during the system boot process.

Seagate's Momentus 5400 FDE hard drive encrypts data in realtime using the IDEA cipher to provide full disk encyption, including user IDs and master key codes. Seagate said that because encryption and key management are handled at the hardware level the overall impact on system performance is minimized.

"Even if a hacker could find the electronically stored user ID or master key codes, they're still encrypted," said Henry Fabian, executive director of product marketing at Seagate.  Mark Pastor, director of strategic marketing at Seagate added that hardware-based full disk encryption is "very strong security compared to what's commonly used today, and it's incredibly easy to use because it comes completely enabled, meaning there's nothing to install or configure," Pastor said.

SECUDE IT's TiDoCoMi technology authenticates users with smartcard-based authentication prior to system boot up and helps control access to full disk encryption features, including key management. The software also provides backup functionality for passwords and certificates.

The combination should be particularly attractive to those companies who have experienced lost or stolen laptops, many of which contained the unencrypted private information of tens or hundreds of thousands of people.