Vendor PGP has announced NetShare, an encryption product for sharing Windows files securely around a network. It has also updated other security offerings, as NetShare on its own is not enough.

PGP said: “PGP NetShare supports all common digital formats – document, spreadsheet, presentation, Web, video, and audio – without modification,” claiming to be file format-neutral.

When NetShare is installed all files saved are encrypted automatically. File content remains encrypted even when transferred to and stored on local desktops. Files on both the server and desktop are transparently decrypted when opened by authorised users and automatically re-encrypted when closed.

Think of it like a Zip archive only it is an encryption archive instead. Files are dragged and dropped to it and automatically encrypted/decrypted by authorised users. Non-authorised users cannot access the file contents.

PGP makes much of NetShare deployment requiring no change in user behaviour – beyond using specified folders that is – and no need to alter the storage infrastructure. Users work with files normally, experiencing minor encryption and decryption delays on file read/write operations. Data owners can either manage access controls for their information or delegate access administration to a security manager.

Administrators can synchronise PGP NetShare with existing access control lists and directory permissions to ensure network files are properly encrypted. They can also grant users the ability to create NetShare-protected folders.

Phillip Dunkelberger, PGP's president and CEO, said: “Industry estimates vary, but approximately 50 percent of all data security breaches occur from within an organization – the wrong people gaining access to the wrong folders.”

However, NetShare relies on users saving files to a specified folder and thus won't prevent malicious employees sending sensitive company information out by email or USB stick, or careless ones saving files to the wrong folder. Nor will it prevent general file access on a lost or stolen notebook computer - only the NetShare folder's contents are protected.

The product is available now and pricing depends upon the number of users and any bundle of PGP products it might be purchased in. Assume a starting price of around US$150/user (£80).