A recipe for trust

Trusted Platform Module chip protects resteraunt chain's data

Papa Gino's and D'Angelo Sandwich Shops now can add fast, easy, bulletproof security to its traditional menu of quick, casual food.

The Massachussets, U.S.-based restaurant chain is pioneering the use of a little-known security chip, the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), that comes inside every Dell laptop and desktop the company buys. Not only does the chip generate and store encryption keys, helping to protect the chain's business data, but it also enables easy finger-swipe or password-based authentication, guarding against identity theft for its employees and customers. When used with Wave Systems' Embassy Trust Suite (ETS) software, the chip provides Papa Gino's with a chain of trust, from the laptop or desktop, all the way to the server and data center.

"And it's so easy," says Chris Cahalin, network manager at the chain. He is amazed a solution that is so easy to administer and use is not more well known in IT circles. For advancing deployment of this elegant, comprehensive approach to security, Papa Gino's earns recognition as a 2006 Enterprise All-Star.

Getting to know the TPM

"Our introduction came through Dell," Cahalin says, explaining how after a sales visit from the PC maker in March 2005, he went to its Web site to learn more. "Security is first and foremost in everybody's mind, so naturally I clicked on a link, and it took me on this wonderful journey of Trusted Platform Modules. As I looked at it, the solution just made more and more sense to me. And then to realize that it's already included in the hardware we're buying today, I thought, my God, why aren't we using this?"

Today, the TPM and Wave Systems' ETS form the core of Papa Gino's security strategy, Cahalin says.

"Typically, the normal laptop considerations are antivirus and antispyware," he says. "Well for us, the first consideration is the ETS platform, and then we buy the antivirus and antispyware." With the TPM-based security, Cahalin and his team are no longer chasing down lost encryption keys or forgotten passwords.

Papa Gino's is moving to TPM-based machines in a controlled manner as it purchases laptops and desktops through planned upgrades, which cover 63 percent of its mobile workforce. The software has cost US$6,900 to implement so far, while Papa Gino's has seen a better than triple ROI of $22,400 in the first year. "That's in support costs, and in having centralized control over the encryption methods used," he says.

In the past, Papa Gino's, like many other companies, had a hodgepodge of security schemes in place.

"For instance, finance was implementing ad hoc security solutions, where it would either password-protect files or use third-party encryption. But then it would lose the keys, and it was a mess," Cahalin says. "We had to bring in a number of temps just to recreate all this end-of-year work very quickly, and it costs us tens of thousands of dollars to do that. Now we have centralized control over that and can avoid those kinds of instances going forward."

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