As Dell’s acquisition of EMC is finalized and the two companies begin to merge cultures and technology, we take a look at Spanning, the cloud data protection provider purchased by EMC in 2014, and what it can do for Dell’s offerings.

Spanning’s most recent release, Spanning Backup for Salesforce, brings encryption key capabilities for Salesforce, the ubiquitous customer relationship management (CRM) software, into Dell’s portfolio. The company says it’s the first and only AppExchange backup and recovery solution that supports encryption key management, but more interesting is that Spanning’s expertise lies in the intersection of two of the channel’s biggest trends—cloud and cybersecurity. Its technology will strengthen Dell’s grasp on both markets and help the erstwhile hardware giant pivot into cloud solutions.

Spanning’s latest offering addresses a growing concern for enterprises and service providers, which have struggled in recent years with securing data in the cloud. Cryptographic capabilities give security professionals control of when cloud providers can access data, and allow them to suspend or shut off access at any time if they feel unsecure.

Last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) published a whitepaper in conjunction with the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) on best practices for security on and in the cloud. The CJIS, a division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), regulates the management of data necessary for law enforcement agencies to perform their mission and enforce laws. This can include things like biometric data, identity history, organizational information, details on property and case or incident history data.

Reflecting best practices in enterprise security, the CJIS requires organizations to manage their own encryption keys when any CJI data is stored outside of an on-premise data center. As IT departments increasingly demand advice and guidance on compliance and governance initiatives, Dell and other vendors will need to be able to offer products like this that support such recommendations.  

According to the Cloud Security Alliance, “It is highly recommended that organizations maintain their own keys or use a trusted cryptographic service from a source that currently maintains such as service.” Companies probably don’t know—or don’t care to know—the nitty gritty details about server-side encryption (SSE) or advanced encryption standards (AES), so they don’t know what to ask for. They just know they need solutions that secure their cloud data and comply with regulations.

Channel partners that can provide a solution like Spanning’s, which secures one of the business world’s most popular repositories of data, will have an easier time selling their clients on the “trusted advisor” pitch. As Dell expands its horizons in an attempt to dominate all things enterprise IT, they’ll need to continue producing specific solutions like this for partners to weave into their offerings.