NetApp Goes to Washington

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 25, 2005

I recently spoke with David Hitz, founder of storage maker Network Appliance, who spent much of last week in Washington, D.C. As Congress is wrestling with data protection legislation, NetApp has been one of the companies lobbying Washington to release federal guidelines relating to whether its customer-companies have to notify their customers if their users’ data had been compromised. “Our customers are going to go crazy if they have to deal with regulations from 50 states,” says Hitz.

Hitz also hopes that the federal legislation will make NetApp’s June acquisition of storage security maker Decru pay off. NetApp is lobbying for use of encryption, which would make inaccessible/destroy any data that’s been stolen.

Hitz explains that some of his company's customers store hundreds of thousands of back-up tapes. So many tapes, in fact, that these tapes are difficult to keep track off. So why not use encryption techniques that the military has long used to safeguard this information? A Bond-like, "will self-destruct in 30 seconds" kind of a deal?

Makes sense to me. And I wouldn't be surprised if this argument makes sense to legislators.

Whatever the U.S. legislature decides, in the end, NetApp will likely have to provide only more gear and software to its customers. So Hitz trip to Washington is sure to pay off.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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