PGP Aims to 'Choreograph' Encryption Keys

Next-generation key management strategy, and major upgrades to desktop and server encryption products on tap

When you hear the name PGP Corp., you probably think desktop email encryption. But the encryption vendor, best known for its roots in Pretty Good Privacy, is trying to shake that image with a new strategy centered around synchronizing encryption keys among applications and with workflow.

PGP is moving beyond pure encryption key management, said Phil Dunkelberger, president and CEO of PGP, in an interview with Dark Reading. "Key management is yesterday's news," he says. "We're talking about making keys ubiquitous like encryption. That's a whole different view of key management."

Dunkelberger says it's all about dynamic, not static, management of encryption keys. "You hear this noise about key management because it's not choreographed correctly," he says. "All the pieces need to be blended to make it easy to view, and to partake in."

PGP calls this "key choreography," where the movement of data, applications, and workflow get integrated with encryption and encryption policies. As part of this strategy, the company plans to release a new version, 9.7, of its PGP Desktop software, as well as a new version, 2.7, of its PGP Universal Server product in the coming weeks. The upgrades will make encryption easier for users and administrators as well as more synchronized with users' workflow, according to PGP. In other words, this is no longer simple key and certificate management, according to Dunkelberger.

PGP Desktop 9.7 is currently in beta, and will begin shipping next month, along with the new release of Universal Server, he says.

PGP has already made good on its promise to integrate its encryption technology with data leakage prevention and antivirus products. And the company got a big nod of approval earlier this month with IBM's announcement that it had chosen PGP as one of its encryption providers. Dunkelberger says this is all about making encryption omnipresent "by automating encryption according to policy and enabling management of encryption applications to protect data wherever it goes."

Dunkelberger says PGP's as-yet unannounced key choreography strategy, of which he would only provide few details, in part grew out of requests from its large customers, who have asked the company to handle their USB thumb drive keys as well, for instance. "They want us to manage those keys for their thumb drives like we do in email, etc.," he says.

And PGP's strategy will encompass how encryption keys associate with a particular application and device driver, for instance, he says. "We're talking about making keys ubiquitous, like encryption."

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