Managing risk and keeping data secure

With security high on the policing agenda, from data protection on mobile devices to access and identity assurance, this year’s Infosecurity Europe show at Earl’s Court generated an unprecedented level of interest from the UK police service. Police Professional discovers that encryption is now of paramount importance for today’s increasingly technology-led police.

May 7, 2009
By Paul Jacques
Detective Chief Superintendent Jon McAdam

With security high on the policing agenda, from data protection on mobile devices to access and identity assurance, this year’s Infosecurity Europe show at Earl’s Court generated an unprecedented level of interest from the UK police service. Police Professional discovers that encryption is now of paramount importance for today’s increasingly technology-led police.

Prophet of doom or shrewd prevision of the risks that can impact on information security? Stephen Lewis, vice-president of business development at AEP Networks, would no doubt prefer the latter, but as the World Health Organisation (WHO) puts the seriousness of the threat from pandemic flu at level five – in its six-point alert scale – following the outbreak of swine flu, or influenza A (H1N1), there was certainly something very prophetic about his observations before last year’s Infosecurity Europe that the Government must adopt encryption technology for sensitive communications.

“An overall driver for encryption has been central government’s championing of policies that support ?exible and home working,” said Mr Lewis. “And rising concerns over the impact of pandemics is a related factor. As part of disaster management strategies, it is necessary for staff to be able to work from outside the office using remote access.”

While a threat such as pandemic flu could impact directly on civilian staff within the police service working ‘in-house’, remote access is no longer confined to disaster scenarios, as Mr Lewis pointed out: “Large numbers of public sector workers increasingly ?nd themselves having to share resources and sensitive information with other departments or are called on to work in collaboration with other organisations and agencies. This also includes staff stationed in temporary incident rooms at crime scenes, for example, or at outside meetings and conferences at locations which do not have secure communications.

“Securing information in such scenarios is obviously of paramount importance and the growing number of departments involved in tackling terrorism and serious crime means the volume of information requiring protection is increasing.”

He added: “The way in which government – both national and local – operates today, means there has never been a greater need for information to be protected using encryption to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.

“The use of these codes means that any unauthorised person who is able to ‘listen in’ or intercept the communication can neither understand nor change the information.”

AEP Networks provides secure connectivity for a wide range of government users throughout Europe and the US, including law enforcement, public safety and criminal intelligence organisations.
There were some stand-out products from AEP Networks at Infosecurity Europe 2009 that were of particular interest for the police and emergency services:

  • Net Remote, a portable encryption device that home and mobile workers can connect directly from their PCs. It provides secure access to applications and data over a wide number of network access technologies including remote office local area networks (LANs), broadband connections and Wi-Fi.
  • SmartGate, a large-scale virtual private network (VPN) product that uses encryption to support inter-departmental and inter-agency working. It enables each agency or department to collaborate by authorising members of other departments or agencies to share information resources. For example, in a situation in which a ?eld operative in a child services department may want to work in the centre, but may also need to collaborate with NHS trusts, police forces and child protection and care charities. The system enables each entity to collaborate while enabling them to maintain independence.
  • Keyper, public key infrastructure (PKI), encryption and cryptographic key management which allows the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS)-certified officer and authorised user to generate, store and use

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