IRS builds large-scale VPN for field agents

IRS builds large-scale VPN for field agents

About 15,000 IRS field agents now can dial up tax records securely on a virtual private network.
Deployment of the VPN technology from SafeNet Inc. of Baltimore began in late 1999. Eventually, 40,000 IRS agents at field and district offices will use it.

The tax agency VPN is 'one of the largest' in either public or private sectors, said Anthony A. Caputo, SafeNet chairman and chief executive officer, at the ComNet trade show in Washington last week. 'This is an area where the government is ahead of industry.'

Agents' PCs run the SafeNet/Smart client software, and the agents use smart cards to log in. The VPN does encryption and authenticates data and users.

IRS offices in Martinsburg, W.Va., manage the VPN centrally. Offices in New Carrollton, Md., back up the transactions.

Caputo said the access management software had to be modified to support so large a VPN, which is designed to scale up to 100,000 users.

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