Housing board encrypts mobile data on smart phones

The Federal Housing Finance Board awarded Trust Digital a contract for its Smartphone Security Management Software to meet information security requirements for protecting sensitive data stored on mobile devices.

The Office of Management and Budget issued the directive and others after a laptop PC containing personal data on millions of veterans was stolen in 2006 from the home of a Veterans Affairs Department employee.

The board regulates the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, which supply local lenders with funds to finance home mortgage loans.

As part of its migration from Research in Motion's BlackBerry to Microsoft Windows Mobile, the board initially implemented an application from a single contractor to secure laptops and smart phones. It found that the single-source application suited laptops better than smart phones, a company spokeswoman said Jan. 28. During the first four months of use, smart-phone users with heavy e-mail usage experienced significantly reduced battery life, interruption in e-mail delivery and consistent system lock issues.

To resolve these issues, the board selected Trust Digital’s smart-phone security software. Deployment took days instead of weeks, and all data leaving the board’s network was fully encrypted, the spokeswoman said. The Trust Digital software performed undetected by the agency’s smart-phone users other than having to enter a personal identificaton number when they turned the smart phone on. Users did not experience degradation in device behavior or performance after the software was loaded.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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