Education Department in market for security tools

The Education Department will evaluate and select software for two-factor authentication that it can incorporate quickly into its Federal Student Aid (FSA) security architecture.

The product selected will be the enterprise standard for implementing two-factor authentication and be used with many of its online applications. Responses are due Feb. 28, Education stated in its Feb. 22 posting on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

Two-factor authentication aims to strengthen security by increasing the certainty of the identity of the individual seeking to access sensitive information.

The initial installation will likely be for the National Student Loan Data System online application access for employees and contractors, the agency said in its request for proposals. The two-factor application would control the request for a second factor for authentication and only make the request when the employee or contractor is accessing the application outside of EDNet, which includes Education's network security, network and telecommunications design and operations, end-user services, production server hosting services, and intranet and Internet services.

FSA's security architecture and applications should be able to work directly with the two-factor tool. In the future, two-factor authentication will be added to other applications with secure data, such as Social Security numbers, loan information and financial information. The future capability will include other trading partners, such as schools and financial partners.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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