Thanks to global networking and wireless communication, people can work flexibly, no matter where they are and with nearly all common applications. Despite all this flexibility and efficiency, however, information protection continues to be a top priority. This goal can continue to be achieved in the future if encryption is applied as homogeneously as possible across all applications. The platform approach from Crypto AG gives users a foundation that will retain its effectiveness in the future.
By Urs Kürzi, Customer Segment Manager
Mobile and Fixed Communication Encryption
Modern business communication is inconceivable without mobile and fixed network phoning, e-mail or video conferences. At the same time, the volume of data being communicated keeps growing at a rapid pace. A big factor in that growth is that mobile employees can access data in government and business net- works from almost anywhere in the world. Global computer networks form the backbone for this activity, connecting thousands of employees at different locations over high-performance data lines and enabling them to work together directly in real time. Everyday applications are technically converging as a result, with the two key catchwords being "IP convergence" and "Ethernet". Naturally, this trend also has ramifications for information security. Regardless of how and where people work, information security is not automatic. Certain elements and processes have to be heeded first and solutions have to be designed for specific customers so that confidentiality, authenticity and integrity are assured under all circumstances. The goal in the medium term is therefore to put homogeneous security architecture in place in all work scenarios and across all the different applications if possible. New integrated approaches are emerging for this purpose. Users find them more advantageous than having to run a separate encryption solution for each communication medium.
The formula is: Crypto AG platform plus security application
Crypto AG implemented these requirements for modern encryption solutions in a platform approach. That means a certain Crypto AG platform was designed for a specific use and can be fitted with one or more security applications as needed. So hardware platforms are in use for mobile work, for stationary office communication (desktop) or even for more robust action, such as use in vehicles. Each hardware platform can encrypt voice, data, text messaging, or video applications, depending on its configuration. In other words, Crypto AG takes a multifunctional and flexible approach that is not only tempting in theory but highly effective in actual practice. Changes are occurring against the following backdrop:
Away from the expensive procurement philosophy
Increased requirements due to budgets and cost pressures have compelled most government administrations to rethink the issue. Previously, classical use scenarios allowed certain encryption equipment to be planned in advance. Extensive stock-keeping was need- ed to maintain system reliability (logistically). With this perspective and mode of organisation for the supply chain, governments and organisations were able to develop and purchase encryption solutions to meet their specific needs. These approaches gave rise, among other things, to expensive small series and the complicated stock-keeping of replacement units (individually for each medium of communication) which threatened to become outmoded with time. Now, anyone who can quickly implement the most modern technology from shortened development cycles will have less expensive and more flexible security solutions in the future. The platform approach from Crypto AG is a reliable way of doing so.
The platform approach is the pivotal idea nowadays and dramatically simplifies logistics. For instance, the Multi- Com Radio Encryption solution HC-2650 was originally designed for encrypted radio communication (HF, UHF, VHF). Now armies are using it for secure IP VPN communication. The 200-hardware platform opens the way to a degree of flexibility that greatly simplifies logistics in defence organisations. Operators can transform a radio encryption unit into an IP encryption unit at the press of a button or vice versa, of course. A platform offers many logistical advantages. Repairs, stock-keep- ing of spare parts and training can all be managed far more simply than with conventional equipment. Another advantage of a modular approach is that security applications can be procured successively.
With the P3I approach (Pre-Planned Product Improvement), expected technological innovations are anticipated and planned for implementation in existing systems practically throughout the service life of the system. Users can rely on always having state-of-the- art work equipment.
Another example: secure office communication
There is hardly any need for phone, fax or PC users to be interested in the underlying technology. They simply want these capabilities to be readily available. The new all-purpose Office Platform Crypto AG Desktop HC-9300 addresses this situation. It protects data and information from all configured applications in the given work setting. HC-9300 is available today with the fax encryption security application and there are plans for it to be an upcoming voice solution. In future, it will offer absolutely reliable end-to-end protection with a secure e-mail application. Incidentally, this platform also makes a handsome addition to any desktop.
Platforms minimise training effort and sources of error
A first-rate encryption solution naturally has to include highly trained expert staff. As we all know, the best security solution is only as good as the individuals who install, configure, use and maintain it. Users quickly recognise that Crypto AG has paid great attention to this factor. Once they know the general operating approach for a solution they can usually run another security application on the same platform intuitively. These synergy effects simplify system operation and make the platforms and their applications more accept- able and trustworthy to users. Easy-to-understand wizards and menu prompting help users to avoid errors and make work easy.