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A Simple Solution to Prying Eyes


Spotlight Profile

Product: Crypto Complete
Company: Linoma Software
Version: 1.2
URL: www.linomasoftware.com
Overall Rating: 3.715

Life used to be simple. People didn’t have credit cards or rely on Social Security numbers as identifiers. We didn’t have people losing laptops containing sensitive data—and if we did, who’d want it? Identity theft wasn’t a phrase that was as common as corn flakes. Ah, the simplicity!

Life’s changed. Now, we must secure not only the doors to the server room, but also the very field elements and their contents. People started losing data or availing themselves of data the rest of the world didn’t want them to have. Then networks were born and before long people could sniff other computers. Networks led to the Internet and, from there, it was an information free-for-all.

Industry then turned to, among other things, cryptography to protect what was becoming its largest asset—data. People just didn’t want anyone creeping in over their networks and sniffing into datasets that they weren’t supposed to be sniffing in.

The IBM* System i* platform is no exception to these concerns. Even though the underlying operating system provides a strong, integrated security model, the need still exists to secure data down to the field element. That’s where cryptography comes in handy. This month I look at Crypto Complete from Linoma Software (www.linomasoftware.com).

Installation

Installing the product from CD isn’t hard at all. But that’s only the first step. You then need to set up your key officers and keys. The Linoma folks can give you some advice on ways to consider doing this, based on your installation and needs. It’s not complex, but spending a little time thinking out how you want it done can save you some problems down the road.

Also, security and encryption standards, from a corporate level, vary from company to company. I suggest reviewing your company’s internal procedures and policies with your auditors to make sure that your setups will be in internal compliance.

Ease of Use

You’ll have some decisions to make once you start using the product, like how and where the field encryption takes place. Depending on what kind of field you’re encrypting, part of that decision will be made for you. For instance, if you’re encrypting a numeric field, the result will be an alpha field and most likely longer than the original numeric. Crypto Complete makes provisions for either storing the encrypted values within the current file or in an external repository. Then you need to decide how the ongoing maintenance is done; your programs can call the APIs or Linoma can place triggers on the file to automatically encrypt values as they’re added or updated.

Linoma provides some nice sample RPG source code that you can cut and paste into your applications. The rest of the application is a series of menus that walks you through the commands around the product.

I found myself wishing for additional prompting in areas. For example, when adding a field name, I couldn’t remember the name of a field or its type attributes and had to exit the process, get them from the Display File Field Description (DSPFFD) command, write them down and restart.

Documentation

Both the user’s guide and the programmer’s guide are well done.


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