Dell Tightens Corporate Security With Protected Workplace

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Dell has beefed up enterprise security with the launch of Protected Workspace for business PCs

Dell has beefed up the Dell Data Protection security offering for business PCs, with the launch of the Protected Workspace.

It comes thanks to a new partnership with an under-the-radar company named Invincia.

Malware Protection

Up to now Invincia did its work only at high security levels within the US government, the military, and highly regulated large commercial enterprises in verticals such as oil and gas exploration, financial services and health care.

Dell announced 25 June that it has partnered with the Fairfax, Virginia-based company to bring application-level security to all of its end-user devices – laptops, notebooks, desktops and tablets – under the label Dell Data Protection.

Dell logoMuch of this new-generation security will be added for no extra cost on Dell devices.

Instead of only encrypting the device, locking down the operating system or using a traditional virtual private network, Dell Data Protection through Invincia puts a shield – or virtualised container – around each browser or application instance to protect it from the rest of the device and the network on which it resides. That way, if a document or link is opened that is infested with a virus, botnet or other digital malady, the instance is isolated and can be discarded with no harm, no foul. A coloured edge actually appears on the window to indicate to the user that the instance is protected.

If there is an invasive incident inside the container, a full report of the instance is recorded and sent back to Invincia to add to its ever-growing archive of malware knowledge.

This is a distinct approach from most others, which generally concentrate on locking down access points, the network, document folders, the device itself – or the operating system, which is what new-gen security provider Bromium does, for example. Each of these options is still available in new Dell devices if users want them.

Corporate Security

Invincea’s secret sauce, called DDP Protected Workspace on Dell devices, came out of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-funded project for advanced endpoint protection. It stops cyber-attacks that include spear-phishing, watering hole attacks, drive-by downloads, poisoned search engine results and others that target end users.

“Each time an employee accesses the Internet or opens an email attachment, they run the risk of becoming the unwitting accomplice to a data breach,” Anup Ghosh, Invincia’s CEO and founder, told eWEEK. “First of all, if you look at basically every other security company out there, it’s based on some sort of list. The premise is that someone, somewhere gets infected, and then they spread it far and wide via their lists. It’s a reactive strategy.

“Second, the guys writing the malware have figured out that all they have to do is slightly tweak the malware and replicate it on a large basis, then the security can’t keep up. That’s today’s status quo. That approach doesn’t work for targeted attacks. This is where we step in. If you are targeted by someone and they send you an email with an infected attachment or link (a spear-fishing exploit), we protect the user from himself.”

Ghosh said that Protected Workspace is completely unobtrusive to users so their everyday workflow is uninterrupted.

Legacy Approaches

Dell, which is starting a new campaign spotlighting security awareness among all device users, obviously was impressed with this approach. The Austin, Texas-based IT giant spent a lot of time checking out a number of different security schemes before deciding this was the one to use across all its products.