Startup Talis targets desktop security

Datagent security device is intended to monitor and restrict use of USB storage devices and access to networks based on defined user privileges

Startup Talis Data Systems Wednesday launched a hardware-based security device that can be inserted into a PC to control use of USB storage devices and access to networks based on defined user privileges.

The hardware, called the Datagent Security Module, was developed foremost to meet the needs of military agencies and others in government, says Tom Darton, president of Talis. As in the private sector, there's a lot of concern about uncontrolled use of USB ports, and Datagent is intended to monitor and restrict use of thumb drives and other portable storage.

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Datagent also provides what Darton calls "sensible domain separation" to allow controlled access to networks.

"In the military, there are the NIPRNet and the SIPRNet, for example," Darton says. "With Datagent on the desktop, you can allow or disallow network access based on various factors, such as time of day."

Talis, founded three years ago by Matt Castelli, Terence Slyntz and Brad Saunders, has about 10 employees. It's backed with an undisclosed amount of private venture capital, including a 60 percent equity stake of $2.3 million from Pilot Power Group, a retail electric provider based in San Diego.

Slyntz and Saunders remain as outside consultants. Castelli, now the company's director, says the 3.5-inch-sized Datagent hardware, installed in a floppy drive, is managed via workstation-based software called AuditX.

Talis intends to primarily market Datagent by integrating the hardware into Dell and HP computers through authorized resellers, with an expected cost ranging from about $1,200 to $3,500 depending on the number of authorized networks.

Datagent is certified to the EAL-4 security level defined by the National Security Agency, according to Talis.

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This story, "Startup Talis targets desktop security" was originally published by Network World.