SmartBuy encryption award to be available to states

The General Services Administration and the Defense Department expect to award their selection for encryption products for mobile data security under the government’s SmartBuy enterprise software program June 15, DOD Deputy Chief Information Officer Dave Wennergren said June 5.

“What’s really groundbreaking is that not only will it be available to everyone across DOD and the entire federal government, it will be available also to state and local governments,” Wennergren said at an event sponsored by the National Academy of Public Administration and Government Executive magazine.

The state and local component grew out of regional activities DOD conducted. A group of security officers in state and local government, including New York, reached out to the Office of Management and Budget, which brought all the parties together, said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for IT and e-government.

“It was a convergence of the right people reaching out to the right people at the right time,” Evans said. “This is exactly what Congress had intended when they gave us those authorities in the E-government Act” of 2002.

DOD’s Enterprise Software Initiative team partnered with the SmartBuy team to choose the products to protect data at rest on laptop computers and personal digital assistants, including full-disk encryption, Wennergren said.

The SmartBuy vehicle supports OMB’s directive that agencies encrypt data on mobile devices as a result of the theft last year of the laptop computer which contained the personal data of millions of veterans from the home of a Veterans Affairs Department employee. The procurement vehicle will make it easier and less expensive for agencies to protect data.

Although a number of agencies have acquired encryption for some or all of their laptops, including the VA, agencies will, at some point, have to use products from the SmartBuy program, Evans said.

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