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Risk

6/22/2009
04:52 PM
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Rollout: Egress Offers Rights Management As A Service

Switch encrypts data, restricts access, but only in Windows environments.

Transferring sensitive data from user to user or company to company can be difficult when there's no secure data-transfer solution in place. Even more difficult is restricting who can open the files once they have left your control. Data protection packages can be very expensive and don't always provide the protections required, which is why many small and midsize businesses haven't implemented a way to secure data and control who accesses it.

Egress Software Technologies' flagship product, Switch, strives to solve these problems in a lightweight manner at price individuals and small and midsize businesses can afford. Switch allows individuals to create secure packages containing files that can be transferred to online or offline recipients.

No doubt this sounds like many other secure data-exchange products on the market, such as PGP, Pkware, and Bcrypt, but Switch has a twist. It controls access to the secure packages through Egress' servers, making Switch a software-as-a-service offering.

Installation is straightforward. First, you must create an account, which is done through the downloaded client. Using your account's e-mail address, the service grants access rights and associates packages. Next, you can choose to install the browser plug-in or the full Switch client. The browser plug-in allows users to open secure packages, but they cannot create them; the full client allows creation and opening of secure packages.

Switch runs on Windows XP, Vista, or Server 2003 and customers' machines must have Microsoft .Net 2.0 Service Pack 1 installed. Although this Windows-only approach isn't unique to Egress' service, it does mean non-Windows businesses will have to seek an alternate route to secure exchanges.

In tests, after we downloaded the full client and entered our account information, we were up and running. The entire process took only a few minutes and was pretty easy. However, because there is no Mac or Linux client, we had to run Switch on a virtual machine running Windows.

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