Most IT shops would agree… stolen laptops are a security risk. To combat this problem, many organizations are turning to hard disk encryption as a way to prevent loss of sensitive information. Apparently the US Federal government has even mandated that disk encryption be used on laptops with sensitive data.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 includes some support for disk encryption natively – look here for more info. But if that does not fit your needs; or perhaps you’re looking for a cross-platform solution; or something that does “whole disk encryption”….

At least one commercial offering is also available: WinMagic, purveyor of hard disk encryption, recently announced that their product SecureDoc will be supporting hard disk encryption on Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop – their first official support of Linux (traditionally, they’ve been a Windows only vendor). The product is expected to be generally available by September 2007.

According to their press announcement

“In recognition of the increased demand for Linux, WinMagic has developed an end-point encryption solution which will make it simple for Linux users to protect data at rest no matter where it may reside,” said Thi Nguyen-Huu, CEO of WinMagic Inc. “In developing and testing SecureDoc for the Linux environment, WinMagic’s main focus was to provide the marketplace with an encryption product that will not yield on performance, functionality, or ease of use,” Nguyen-Huu continued. “Our support for Linux is yet another sign of WinMagic’s dedication to open system standards and to furthering those standards for the data encryption market place.”

(Updated) Found another commercial offering for Linux hard disk encryption… CheckPoint’s Pointsec Hard Drive Encryption. Supports SUSE and Red Hat.

(Updated, Oct 9) Here’s a non-commercial “free” product for entire hard disk encryption… TrueCrypt. Although it does not do “whole disk encryption” it does do partition-level encryption. According to the website it supports openSUSE and Ubuntu.

What’s been your experience with hard drive encryption thus far?? Any other vendors in this space you might be aware of?