GSA buys data encryption software

The General Services Administration will improve the security of 12,000 laptops by installing data encryption software from Credant Technologies Inc.

GSA hired the Addison, Texas, company to provide a perpetual software license and corresponding maintenance. The agency also hired Intelligent Decisions Inc. of Ashburn, Va., to install the software initially on every employee laptop and some desktops.

Financial terms of the contract were not available immediately.

Under the Office of Management and Budget's June 23 memo, every agency by August had to encrypt all data on mobile devices that carry sensitive data and allow remote access only with two-factor authentication.

GSA joined the Office of Personnel Management and the Defense Finance and Accounting Services in buying Credant's software, said Eric Hay, a senior systems engineer for Credant. OPM plans to deploy the software to more than 8,000 users, while DFAS would deploy it to about 17,000 users.

'Our focus is on encrypting data as it moves on and off devices,' he said. 'The software extends encryption policies to personal digital assistants, USB drives and external hard drives. The software ensures these components have security on them, and the data is encrypted before they are allowed to sync [with the server].'

GSA initially will not use the software on PDAs or other mobile devices except laptops. Hay said the software lets users move beyond PCs and notebooks as needed.

'The software is on the enterprise server and talks to Active Directory, so once it is plugged in, it is easy to add new users,' Hay said. 'The software automatically enforces encryption and pushes it down.'

GSA also will be able to decide how the data is encrypted, and who has access to the information and could collect audit data.

'The users don't control the encryption and don't have to do anything special,' Hay said.

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