Blueprint for more-secure servers released

"Trusted servers" with a special security chip should better protect data and transactions, an industry group says.

Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Joris Evers
The Trusted Computing Group has released a specification for servers with a special security chip, which the industry group says will better protect data and transactions.

At the heart of the blueprint for "trusted servers" is the Trusted Platform Module, a chip that stores digital keys, certificates and passwords. The TPM is already used in PCs. More than 15 million "trusted clients" have been shipped by PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell, according to the TCG.

Computers with the security chip can wall off data, secure communications and identify systems belonging to the company or to business partners.

Servers that are built following the group's specifications will be less prone to attack, Brian Berger, chairman of the TCG's marketing working group, said in an interview. Critical data can be protected by hardware-based security, not by often-attacked and vulnerable software, he said.

"We are all aware of software issues with worms, viruses and vulnerabilities. Critical information is now protected by hardware that has very strong protection against access," Berger said. "Software vulnerabilities are really not seen in a hardware protection environment."

The TCG specification (PDF), released early this week, is available free to hardware makers. The trusted server blueprint supports a variety of processor architectures and various form factors. The first servers built according to the specification should be available by year's end, according to the TCG.

TCG members include server makers such as Dell, HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems.