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Townsend Security Data Privacy Blog

The Importance of NIST Certification for AES Encryption

Posted by Luke Probasco on Apr 7, 2011 8:50:00 AM

The Importance of NIST Certification for AES Encryption

AES Evaluation Windows Unix Linux IBM

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All Encryption is Not Created Equal

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines the standard for AES encryption, and provides a rigorous testing process for software vendors. The certification process is carried out by independent testing labs who report the results to NIST for validation.  The AES certification process tests every aspect of encryption and involves millions of encryption and decryption operations. Only the most dedicated security vendors are able to pass the tests and achieve NIST certification.  Townsend Security has achieved AES Validation for all key sizes and modes of operation, on every major Enterprise platform. 

How important is NIST validation?

Steve Tenore, a Senior IBM i Consultant for Staples, says "Staples wouldn’t even consider a vendor solution that didn’t have NIST certification. The fact that Townsend Security has NIST certified solutions on the major Enterprise server platform was a big plus."

Need encryption done right?  Insist on NIST.

In a study of the certification program, NIST found nearly 50 percent of software vendors had errors in their encryption solutions. It isn’t easy to get encryption right. A certificate of validation from NIST is your assurance that AES encryption does what it is supposed to do. Every time.

Certification Means Stronger Encryption

NIST certification is your assurance that a vendor’s AES encryption solution implements data encryption the right way. There are many ways to use encryption and a wide variety of modes of encryption. Improperly implemented solutions may work for one type of task, but fail under different application requirements. All software vendors claim they implement strong encryption. Can they prove it? Ask them for their NIST certification.

Certification Means Reliability

The NIST testing process is designed to exercise a vendor’s encryption solution under stress conditions. Large numbers of repeated encryptions are performed with the output of one encryption used as input for the next encryption. Failures in memory management or reliability will be exposed in the testing process. Encryption software may work without errors for 100 or 1,000 encryptions, but will it work on 1 million encryptions? How about 100 million encryptions?

No one wants the unpleasant experience of a system failure due to unreliable software. NIST certification helps provide some assurance of a reliable implementation. 

Download a free trial of our AES Encryption (available for IBM i, IBM z, Windows, Linux, and UNIX) and be guaranteed that you are using the most secure and best performing encryption available.

Topics: Encryption, NIST, AES

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