We live in a digitally turbulent world. Data is continuously created, stored, analyzed—and coveted. Especially surveillance data obtained by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Accordingly, the U.S. military goes to great lengths to protect data stored in UAVs, as well as tactical edge devices and similar systems. 

The risks are real. A UAV might be shot down over enemy territory. Or the need to bug out during military action might leave data-carrying computers and devices behind. Therefore, it’s vital to secure data in case these devices fall into enemy hands. Enemy access to mission data simply cannot be allowed.

These devices are storing Data at Rest, or DAR. DAR is physically housed in a storage device such as an SSD. In headless applications, the data has been recorded by cameras or other sensors. (Actively manipulated data is called Data in Use. Data transmitted or sent across a network is called Data in Transit–or in Flight.)

Secure DAR implementations require a self-encrypting drive (SED). An SED simplifies data encryption by automatically encrypting or decrypting data as it is written or read. In addition, an SED uses a data encryption key (DEK) to permit access. Authorization acquisition (AA) is the mechanism to release the encryption key to the encryption engine. In addition, an SED provides higher levels of security if AA occurs prior to booting the OS. This pre-boot authentication (PBA) keeps a computer from even seeing the SED.

We are used to entering passwords on a keyboard when prompts appear on a computer monitor. However, UAVs and many tactical edge devices are “headless,” so there is no monitor or keyboard.

Citadel GL for Headless Devices

To secure data in these specialized deployments, DIGISTOR has developed the Citadel GL family of SSDs. Citadel GL SSDs are FIPS 140-2 certified self-encrypting SSDs with pre-boot authentication (PBA). Powered by CipherDrive™, Citadel GL SSDs require authorization acquisition via a USB security key.

Citadel GL SSDs use NSA-approved AES 256-bit hardware encryption. With no software overhead, Citadel GL records and provides access to encrypted data at full system performance. Citadel GL stores its own keys, simplifying key management. Citadel GL is also a cross-platform solution that works with multiple operating systems.

These attributes make Citadel GL SSDs ideal for securing data collected and stored in UAVs, sensor systems, autonomous platforms, appliances, and tactical edge devices.  

At DIGISTOR, we specialize in helping military and government agencies and commercial entities find the right encrypted storage solution to secure their DAR. With a wide range of secure storage offerings, from bare drives to removable solutions to headless solutions to Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC)-ready SSDs, we can assist with specifying the appropriate storage devices to secure your important data. If you have any questions as to securing DAR might apply to your own data security requirements, please feel free to contact us.

Additional Resources

Whitepaper: Building a Citadel of Trust in a Zero Trust World

Whitepaper: Is Your Data at Rest (DAR) Truly Secure?

Blog: Classified Information and Data at Rest (DAR)

Blog: An Overview of Encryption Standards and Technologies

Blog: Cybersecurity Threat Levels: What Do You Know?

Blog: It’s All About Speed: PCIe Gen 4

Blog: CISOs: Maintaining Cybersecurity at a Global Scale

Blog: Pentagon Accelerates Adoption of ‘Zero Trust’ Cybersecurity

Article on EEJournal.com: Secure Your Data at Rest, Stupid!


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