Seeking Encrypted Laptop Redundancy solution
Posted on 2006-04-15
Okay, I'll admit right up front, I'm anal about backups and redundancy. Besides all the usual potential computer problems, I live in hurricane-prone coastal Florida and am therefore subject to evacuation on short notice. Besides the steps below, I also use an online backup service, as well as store local backups on alternating external drives by different manufacturers. Here goes:
In the past:
I run business on primary laptop (A) but keep second identical laptop (B) for redundancy (both drive as well as other hardware). Backup nightly, and on weekly basis image (Acronis Trueimage) laptop A drive to USB then restore to laptop B so always have live data on redundant machine no older than 1 week. Process worked fine using two Dell laptops. Due to increasing threat of privacy issues, purchased whole disk encryption software (SecureDoc by WinMagic). Process still worked but imaging time and size was dramatically increased because of encryption. (imaging software must do raw sector-by-sector image due to encryption, which makes image size equal to drive capacity; 60 gig drive=60 gig image)
Replaced 2 Dells with 2 IBM ThinkPad Z60Ms with 100gb drives. Now utilize IBM's Rescue&Recovery backup to image drive. SecureDoc software is incompatible with R&R so purchased Utimaco SafeGuard Easy (SGE) whole disk encryption. Drive encryption does not affect SGE image size (R&R has great compression algorithim). Run same backup/restore process as with Dells above.
Images written to USB drive can only be restored back to laptop A that created the image, or to a NON-encrypted laptop B; cannot keep both drives encrypted and have interchangeable image backups. I NEED to keep both laptops encrypted so both can be used in the workplace simultaneously (laptop A for normal business, laptop B for document imaging workstation and other functions while laptop A is otherwise unavailable, and would like to leave laptop B in office during week) To accomplish this currently, I must image laptop A to USB (1 hour), decrypt laptop B (3.5 hours), restore to laptop B (1 hour), encrypt laptop B (3.5 hours). A tiresome process! Another security risk is that the backup images stored on external USB drives are clear text, otherwise the non-encrypted laptop B could not access them for a restore.
Researched many whole disk encryption programs; none compatible with IBM R&R software. (could dump R&R but then imaging time increases dramatically)Researched peer to peer synchroziation software (between machines after authentication) none will synchronize entire drive.
Looking for other solutions that would allow for whole disk encryption on redundant laptops with reasonable imaging/backup processing time and hardware requirements. Would consider other hardware/software configurations. Thanks in advance.