Industry innovators 2007: PGP Encryption

In discussing innovation with people from PGP, we made a very interesting discovery. What we classically think of as PGP encryption actually is only a small part of the view that the company has of the product line and the mission of the company. According to one PGP visionary, the mission of the company is not about the next version of PGP. Rather, it's about key management and getting encryption to the masses. One important aspect of meeting that mission relates to the core PGP platform.

Why then have encryption at all? One school of thought is that encryption is everything. It is the security on the enterprise. The other is that encryption is something you add if information on the enterprise happens to be extraordinarily sensitive.

PGP's position differs a bit from either of these. Encryption, according to a PGP visionary, works in ways that other security measures do not. Encryption is a core piece of any security architecture and needs to work with other security measures. That approach has characterized PGP's vision for the future.

The PGP platform is generic to the point that it will run on just about anything — from a mainframe to a PDA. This makes it extremely extensible and scalable. The most important part of the vision, however, is the notion of competition.

According to PGP, encrypting techniques need to be abstracted as far away from the user as

Other objectives for the future include expanding encrypting of mass storage, bringing more people into an encryption ecosystem with as little inconvenience as possible, and extending key management to much larger and more complicated environments.

We felt that the view of the overall secure environment over the narrower view of encryption as “the answer” was innovative. Encryption, then, becomes an integral part of the architecture, and managing it, making it work for the average user, is as important as — arguably more so than — the encryption itself.

What it is: An entire encryption environment for the enterprise
Vendor:  PGP Corporation -
Cost: Client starts at $69/seat
Innovation:  It is more important to bring users into an encryption ecosystem than it is to come up with the next release
What we liked: Ease of implementation and use, transparency

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