Data on self-encrypting drives is protected from unauthorized access by authenticating encryption keys. Encryption keys never leave the drive. When a drive is locked, successful authentication unlocks the drive for data access.
The data on self-encrypting drives is rendered inaccessible in the following conditions:
- When a self-encrypting drive is smartfailed, drive authentication keys are deleted from the node. The data on the drive cannot be decrypted and is therefore unreadable, which secures the drive.
- When a drive is smartfailed and removed from a node, the encryption key on the drive is deleted. Because the encryption key for reading data from the drive must be the same key that was used when the data was written, it is impossible to decrypt data that was previously written to the drive. When you smartfail and then remove a drive, it is cryptographically erased.
Smartfailing a drive is the preferred method for removing a self-encrypting drive. Removing a node that has been smartfailed guarantees that data is inaccessible.
- When a self-encrypting drive loses power, the drive locks to prevent unauthorized access. When power is restored, data is again accessible when the appropriate drive authentication key is provided.