Xerox hopes Common Criteria boosts sales

Xerox Corp. is almost alone among makers of copiers, printers and other office machines because the company has received Common Criteria certification for some products. Now the company and its competitor that also achieved the distinction have a unique opportunity, said Robert Turner, vice president of Xerox's public sector business unit.

Other companies are pursuing the certification, but "it's going to take them a while to emerge, so we have a window of opportunity along with Sharp [Electronics Corp.]," he said. "We've got to run with it."

The Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme has become an international security standard for technology products. The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Security Agency's National Infrastructure Assurance Partnership oversee Common Criteria implementation in the United States.

Xerox officials, which announced the certification earlier this month, are spreading the news at security symposia and open-house events, he said.

To earn the certification, Xerox officials added or strengthened security features of the company's products. For example, data stored on copier hard drives can be overwritten with computer gibberish to keep hackers from stealing electronic documents, Turner said. Xerox fax machines are secured so that no one can gain access to an agency's network through the machine's telephone connection, he said.

"The government is increasingly interested in security," he said. "We expect to do a lot of business because of this enhancement in our certification." Defense Department customers have already begun to ask about upgrading equipment, he said.

Xerox officials spent about a year to get the certification for copiers and other print and fax machines, he said. More of the company's products are under consideration, including faster printers and scanners, Turner said.

"The certification process is very rigorous," he said. "We felt we would be completed a lot sooner. It was not an easy task."

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