Newly formed Protegrity Inc, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is pioneering what it claims is a unique approach to security with a patented system that protects database information down to data item level, without the need for bulk encryption. Unlike traditional security devices like firewalls, Protegrity protects the data at the most finite level, enabling companies to specifically select the information they want to encrypt. The so-called ‘data element wrapper’ gives more selective protection of sensitive programs by securing individual pieces of data. Other features include an encryption system which can separate descriptive and identifying data, and a role-based permission system for setting up who has access to each piece of information. Protegrity will run on Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and NT systems, and on IBM Corp’s AIX Unix implementation, though it can be easily implemented on MVS, OS/2, OS/400 and DOS, and integrated with IMS, DB2 and other databases. Protegrity is marketing the product in conjunction with IBM, which contributed to the development of the product over three years alongside little known Swedish company Anonymity Protection Systems. Protegrity, which has offices in the UK and Sweden, purchased exclusive rights to the APS technology in summer 1996, including an option to acquire the company. The company says intranet/extranet security and data mining are the driving applications behind the new product. Protegrity Inc is currently establishing beta sites and looking at suitable market application areas, such as financial systems and patient healthcare records. Other partnerships will be revealed as they are finalized. No prices were given.