DOD gets instant message

Secure messaging tool for defense collaborative software suite awaits approval

Asynchrony Solutions has put the finishing touches on software that will enable Defense Department personnel to work together online with instant messaging, file sharing and other features popular among Internet users — all in a secure environment.

Asynchrony's Envoke software is one of several products DOD has tested to be part of the Defense Collaboration Tool Suite (DCTS), a set of commercial products intended to enable geographically separated users to chat, conduct videoconferences and share documents, slides and applications online.

Envoke provides two key functions for DCTS: global awareness, so users can see who else is online, and instant messaging, so users can send messages back and forth without using an e-mail application.

"Envoke provides an awareness of what's happening with the other products within the suite — people, places and events — so you don't have to check each one," said Bob Elfanbaum, vice president and co-founder of the St. Louis-based company. "You can see if a conference or room you have to go to is available, or if someone's online."

The secure instant messaging feature includes a logging capability that enables a manager to audit the messaging traffic. This was a "core component from the start that we built into it," Elfanbaum said. After meeting all of DOD's needs and requirements, Asynchrony officials plan to move the product to the commercial market, he said.

Asynchrony has been working with DOD on Envoke since last April, when DOD transferred ownership of the intellectual property to the company.

Other products in the tool suite include Lotus Development Corp.'s Sametime; Microsoft Corp.'s NetMeeting, Digital Dashboard and Outlook; Sun Microsystems Inc.'s SunForum; First Virtual Communications Inc.'s (formerly CUseeMe Networks Inc.'s) Conference Server; and the DCTS Digital Dashboard.

John Wohlfarth, a research analyst at the Anser Institute for Homeland Security, said he wasn't familiar with Envoke but did know that e-mail messages and instant messages sent through commercial providers such as America Online Inc. are "easily intercepted."

"I could certainly see how DOD, other federal agencies, and some state and local governments would have a use for" secure instant messaging, he said.

Asynchrony will provide DOD with a set number of Envoke licenses free of charge, which the department is expected to use up within a year. The company will then charge $20,000 per server, which includes the clients and bridges to the various tools, Elfanbaum said.

In a January 2001 draft memo, Art Money, then DOD's chief information officer, asked all DOD organizations to adopt DCTS by Oct. 1, 2001. But last August, the department issued another memo stating that — at a date yet to be determined — guidelines for testing other software for DCTS interoperability would be forthcoming.

Now it appears that DOD will be making that DCTS mandate within the next 60 days, and the suite should be up and running for about 50,000 users in various organizations by the end of the fiscal year, Elfanbaum said.

DOD officials could not confirm the 60-day approval timeline for DCTS and even went so far as to say that it sounded "optimistic."

And although Envoke currently supports only the approved DCTS, there are plans to add other products, such as Ezenia Inc.'s InfoWorkSpace, which has a large user community in the intelligence field and the military services.

"Envoke is not meant just as a bridge to these [DCTS] components, but a bridge to other collaboration tools in the field," Elfanbaum said. He added that in the next six months, the company plans to expand the number of bridges to other collaboration environments, while maintaining a focus on DCTS.

Asynchrony officials are in discussions with federal agencies outside the defense and intelligence communities, Elfanbaum added. Then, the company plans to raise more investment capital and build the commercial market for the product.

NEXT STORY: Information clicks with Web users

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.