Review: OfficeLock

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Review: OfficeLock

This is not a disk encryptor like most of the products on test, because it encrypts individual document files transparently. Indeed, it was designed and intended completely for enterprise use, and requires an external copy of Microsoft SQLServer in order to install.

Encryption is 448-bit Blowfish, a strong, well-known algorithm. The code is from OpenSSL. There are arguments for the use of open source algorithms and code and many well-known algorithms are open source.

Interfuse also supports the use of more robust algorithms by creating a separate product based upon a FIPS-compliant algorithm for government use.

OfficeLock has a plethora of features and is generally well-placed for enterprise use. But we question the benefits of a file-based encryption program. It might allow a thief to steal a laptop, locate encrypted files and attempt brute force cracking at their leisure. There is a free reader available to facilitate group use of OfficeLock encrypted files, and we can envision using this as a means to break the encryption.

On the other hand, file-based encryption lends itself well to document management and workgroup sharing.

OfficeLock requires full service packs on target PCs – a real plus. Not all programs have this requirement, which puts OSs that have not been upgraded properly at risk of a DoS attack, or other sort of compromise.

OfficeLock is not that easy to install and manage. While there are management tools, such as the administrator console, the program can be quite complex to configure. That said, once it has been, it is transparent to the user.

Adding to the complexity of installation and administration is a comprehensive, but occasionally difficult to use, set of manuals.

Another plus is that, since the product is intended for enterprise use, there is a reasonably robust data recovery mechanism so that staff leaving the organization do not prevent recovery of critical encrypted data.

The product is pricey, but if all you need is to protect individual, low-sensitivity files, this product might work for you. However, if you routinely carry sensitive data on laptops, it may not be enough.

For: Requires a secure operating environment to install; loaded with features specifically for enterprise use.
Against: Requires additional hardware and software (MS SQLServer); file-level encryption only.
Verdict: Might be useful for laptops with less sensitive data; pricey, especially as it requires additional third-party software.


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