TCS thin client SABI-certified

The Coast Guard has accredited a thin client system for secure use of the Secret and Below Interoperability (SABI) level, Trusted Computer Solutions announced this week.

The system is based on TCS' SecureOffice Trusted Thin Client software running on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 operating system on an IBM System x server. According to TCS, this is the first thin client desktop system certified to communicate with both a classified and an unclassified network.

The Coast Guard Intelligence Program will use systems built on this configuration for analysts to switch between the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) to the Unclassified but Sensitive Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet) by using a single machine.

'Now any government agency that needs access to classified and unclassified data and networks from a single device has a SABI certified solution they can use,' TCS Chief Operating Officer Ed Hammersla said in a statement.

The Coast Guard started the accreditation process for this configuration in October 2006. Hammersla noted that it actually can be more difficult to certify a system for SABI than it is for Top Secret and Below Interoperability use, which deals with commingling systems of differing classified levels.

"The SABI environment takes you in the unclassified world. It is by definition a more rigorous process because you are allowing classified networks to be on the same machine as an unclassified network," Hammersla told GCN.

Originally mandated by the Defense Department's assistant secretary for command, control, communications, and intelligence, SABI is an information assurance initiative that uses system security engineering and mission-oriented risk management to evaluate software-based multilevel security systems.

TCS' SecureOffice Trusted Thin Client provides secure access to desktop applications on different networks of varying classification levels.

"It is software that is implemented on a thin client piece of hardware. It connects back to something called a distribution console, which is connected to multiple networks," Hammersla said. "The user, sitting in a workspace, would have a keyboard monitor and mouse and a thin client device with our software, and he would be able to look at multiple networks on the same screen at the same time."

However, the user would not be able to cut and paste information between screens. "It is an access-only product," Hammersla added. "We're trying to solve the problem of the intelligence analyst who is sitting in front of five or six PCs or terminals, each connected to a different network."

The client can be a thin client, a laptop or a workstation. TCS' Distribution Console, installed on a server, can manage up to 200 clients.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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