A number of industry heavywights have unveiled the Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP), a new specification jointly developed by Brocade, EMC, HP, IBM, LSI, Seagate and Thales.
"Our customers' IT environments are growing in complexity and, at the same time, these companies are under extreme pressures to meet compliance regulations and limit costs," Mark Schiller, director of HP's security office told IT Examiner. "KMIP was developed in an effort to simplify the process of encryption key management enterprise-wide and is the broadest and most comprehensive key management standards framework developed to date."
According to Schiller, the standard targets multiple layers, including storage, applications, databases and files.
"The initial authors of the KMIP framework, HP, IBM, RSA/EMC & Thales/Ncipher, shared a common vision of making encryption across the enterprise easier and more transparent for our customers," explained Schiller. "These four companies engaged more than 25 senior security engineers and architects in the joint activity. This effort was kicked off in late 2007 by the (original) four, with Brocade, LSI, Seagate, and more recently, NetApp, also joining the effort."
Schiller noted that the standard will be provided "royalty-free" to encourage participation by small companies as well as industry heavyweights.
Jon Geater, director of strategy at Thales, expressed similar sentiments.
"Organisations increasingly understand the need to encrypt data, but often hold back from doing so out of fear of losing access to the data or the prospect of managing multiple non-interoperable key management system," said Geater. "Thales' goal is to empower customers to encrypt data with confidence anywhere in the enterprise, knowing that it is not only secure, but also can be accessed when needed. Unlike other standards which concentrate on specific segments of the infrastructure, KMIP is a comprehensive standard that addresses the broad requirements of key lifecycle management across the entire enterprise."
The new protocol will be submitted to OASIS (Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) for advancement through the organisation's open standards process. X