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Considerations Around Application Encryption

December 22nd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Data Security, IT Industry, Security, Tools

person-encryption-623x420For years, the use of encryption to protect data-at-rest on computers within the enterprise was solely the responsibility of developers who coded the applications that used or generated the data. Early on, developers had little choice but to “roll their own” encryption implementations. Some of these early implementations were mathematically sound and somewhat secure. Other implementations, while perhaps not mathematically sound, were adequate for the risk developers were attempting to mitigate.

As technology progressed, choices for encryption matured and solidified across development stacks. Callable libraries were born. Algorithms were perfected, significantly strengthened and pushed into the public domain. And beyond application encryption, encryption itself began to offer benefits to the enterprise at an operational level – within turnkey, off-the-shelf solutions that could be aimed at specific enterprise use cases such as end-point data loss prevention (DLP), encrypted backups, and full-disk encryption (FDE) among others.

Today however, when CISOs and senior security, software and enterprise architects think of protecting data-at-rest, their conceptions can sometimes harken back to days of old and they will stipulate encryption solutions as necessarily needing to be implemented at the application layer.

And while it turns out there is actually no extreme fallacy in this thinking and some benefits at this layer remain, there are some considerations and tradeoffs surrounding application encryption that aren’t overtly obvious. These considerations and tradeoffs can get lost when not weighed along with more recent turnkey, transparent solutions that get implemented at a different architectural layer with nearly the same benefit yet with much less risk and cost association.

Let’s look at and consider some of the ins and outs of application encryption. Hopefully the following thoughts and considerations will help those who are deep in the throes of needing to make a decision around encryption of data-at-rest.
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Oh Ye MacBook Pro Of Little Memory :-(

March 25th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in General, IdM Infrastructure, Tools

I’ve been a Mac user ever since 1993 and have always been extremely pleased with the platform in so many ways. Recently, Apple seems to have finally been realized in the consumer market as superior — I see Macs everywhere I go. And in the developer/power user arena, Macintosh and Mac OS X is the absolute “cat’s meow,” especially if one is a JEE developer. I couldn’t do what I do in Identity Management for Qubera without my 15″ MacBook Pro. It just does what I want it to do — no PC fuss or muss.

Apple’s Poor Memory Roadmap (IMO)

I’ve been disappointed however recently with one piece of the architecture: Apple’s maximum memory limits and their roadmap as it relates to upper memory limits on their non-Retina line of MacBook Pros. I feel it’s short sighted. (Even the new Retina MacBook Pros should max out at 32gb, not 16gb. Their memory footprints are just running behind the PCs at this point.) When I bought my MacBook Pro in early 2011, I laid out a lot of cash for this thing, and I instantly max’d the memory out at a {sarcasm}whopping{/sarcasm} 8gb, knowing I needed to run a lot of VMs, which Qubera uses for testing and support of customers.

Even more recently, after upgrading to Mountain Lion, I’ve pretty much bumped into the limit. I run a lot of stuff to do what I do in Identity Management, and I need it all open at once; Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Google Chrome, Eclipse, emacs, Evernote, VMware Fusion and a Windows 7 VM (mainly for Visio, but also PC testing), Tomcat 6, MySQL, terminal windows galore, RDP sessions galore, calendaring, you name it. In recent weeks, I was beginning to despair a little bit. According to Apple, I had already max’d out my memory. 8gb just isn’t/wasn’t enough. What to do?!

Where Has All My Memory Gone?

I began trying to manage my memory better. I used Activity Monitor to monitor my memory, and I learned a lot about what was eating up memory. I didn’t realize I needed to treat just about every browser tab as it’s own application — there’s so much going on behind the scenes of every tab. I usually have a million tabs open too. But I need all this stuff opened. I can’t be closing it down, loosing context in my work.

I really needed a better solution. I began doing some research and in the end, I reached out to my good friends at The Chip Merchant for help. What I discovered was incredibly good news. Good enough news to document this in a blog entry.

8gb For i7-Based Macbook Pros Is NOT “The Max”!!

I’ve been using the guys at The Chip Merchant (in San Diego, CA) for over a decade. When it comes to memory, I know of no one better. These guys really know their stuff. I had a hunch that someone, somewhere HAD to be making an 8gb SODIMM that would fit the MacBook Pro. It turns out, after turning to The Chip Merchant, I was right.

If you go on Amazon and look for these memory SODIMMs, you’ll see they are available, but people are having mixed results with them per the reviews. I found out from The Chip Merchant that these are probably people running the i5-based MacBook Pro rather than the i7-based MacBook Pro, which is what I have. Crucial Memory makes an 8gb SODIMM that is stable and doesn’t over-heat in the i7-based MacBook Pros. For less than $150 to max my memory out at 16gb, it was a no brainer.

(The Chip Merchant really gave Crucial Memory the props as well — they said if Crucial Memory says it, you can book it. Something to remember when it comes to memory in the future.)

Ordering Information

So, there you have it. Despite what Apple indicates or recommends or states as the max for your i7-based MacBook Pro, Crucial Memory makes an 8gb SODIMM that fits and works — so 2x equals 16gb max. My life has been saved.

If you’re looking to upgrade your i7-based MacBook Pro to 16gb, give my friends over at The Chip Merchant a call. These 8gb SODIMMs are NOT in their online store at present, but they do have them and can get their hands on them. Worth every penny. Here is the item number from The Chip Merchant:

MEMCRL20413338G
CRUCIAL SODIMM DDR3 1333MHZ [8GB] 204P

Account rep. Devin Charters helped me with this. What a life-saver. :-) This probably extended the life of my MacBook Pro for another 3 years at least. Thanks The Chip Merchant!! Hope this helps someone else out there who is despairing as I was.

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