Partnership develops encryption for federal mobile devices

U.S. military, intelligence and civilian agencies will soon have access to a voice encryption service for mobile devices. The service is designed to help agency IT departments manage and protect their mobility efforts.

A joint effort by Verizon and Cellcrypt targeting the federal marketplace, the currently unnamed service is undergoing trial tests with government agencies and is scheduled to be available this fall. The co-branded effort will market the latest version of Cellcrypt’s voice encryption technology, said Kathleen Peters, Cellcrypt’s general manager for the Americas and vice president for business development.

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The government is embracing mobile devices, but with that has come security concerns. The new product provides agencies with the convenience of acquiring the encryption service through their Verizon accounts, Peters said.

The Verizon-Cellcrypt service will support smart phones and tablets running the Android, BlackBerry and iOS mobile operating systems. The Cellcrypt-developed downloadable software application supports the federal information processing standard (FIPS) 140-2 and works across cellular, Wi-Fi and satellite networks. Besides secure voice, the mobile service can also support secure text, Verizon officials said.

Mobile encryption systems such as Cellcrypt’s are becoming increasingly important as traditional switched networks are phased out and more agencies launch efforts such as bring your own device (BYOD) to work programs, said Danny Johnson, director of marketing at Verizon Wireless. But BYOD policies require a strong security component, he said.

Verizon is working with both the government and industry to shape federal mobility policy, said Johnson. The company is helping the government with pilot programs to lay the groundwork for future policy, which is necessary because many organizations do not have a mobile strategy or roadmap, he said. “It really extends beyond secure encrypted voice communications,” he added.


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