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Thales launches nShield Edge

April 2010 by Emmanuelle Lamandé

Thales announces nShield Edge, a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated USB-attached hardware security module (HSM).

nShield Edge, part of the nCipher product line, is one of the world’s most compact HSMs, measuring only 120 x 118 x 27mm. It features an integrated card reader and requires only a standard USB connection to the host computer to operate.

Due to its small size, nShield Edge has the optimal form factor for use on the road, in temporary deployments, in remote offices or placed in vaults for high assurance applications that require strong physical security while they are off-line. Because it connects via a USB port and does not require an additional power supply, nShield Edge is well suited for use with laptops. In addition, HSM protected keys and cryptographic operations within nShield Edge can be accessed by virtual machines since many hypervisors can pass the USB connection through to the guest operating system.

Financial services, high technology, government, retail and healthcare sectors are expected to use nShield Edge in the following ways:

- Remote office deployments – nShield Edge hardware is easy to install or retrofit to existing servers. The Thales Security World key management framework enables remote and automated provisioning of keys to remote locations without the need for security personnel to travel to the site.

- Offline Certification Authorities – nShield Edge is the ideal form factor for offline Certification Authorities (CAs), which are underpinned by some of the most valuable key material in an enterprise’s infrastructure.

- Code Signing and other high assurance digital signatures – nShield Edge supports the typical laptop or workstation environment and is the perfect source of trusted signatures, even if quorum based user signing is required. Effective key backup and recovery features ensure long-term code signing keys cannot be lost.

- Remote authorisation for HSMs – nShield Edge is the ideal form factor to allow remotely located security personnel to authenticate and authorise administrative activities to other remotely located nShield HSMs. This task would typically be performed from a workstation or laptop environment and requires an HSM to be attached to the remote user’s workstation.

- HSM application development – The size, form factor and compatibility of nShield Edge makes it ideal for application developers wishing to validate their application with Thales HSMs, especially if the developer is using a laptop – making it the ideal personal HSM for developers at their desks.

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