Booz Allen launches District Defend, new location-aware technology

Booz Allen Hamilton announced the availability of new mobility technology — District Defend — that uses security protocols to make the management of mobile devices like tablets in sensitive and classified environments easier and less complex.

District Defend, available on select Dell computers, brings the benefits of mobile computing to the public sector, unlocking opportunities to collaborate, work from more places, and handle different types of data while mitigating security threats that have hampered mobility adoption within government.

According to a new survey of federal decision-makers commissioned by Booz Allen, a major factor limiting the government’s ability to adopt mobile technologies is the tension between mobile workplace practices and security standards.

Nearly 6 out of 10 respondents note they have security controls that inhibit mobility in the workplace. And yet, three-quarters of respondents (74%) feel it is important for their organization to have mobility.

“Mobility traditionally comes at a cost for government users, restricting productivity and collaboration in favor of stricter security,” said Dee Dee Helfenstein, a Booz Allen Senior Vice President and leader of the firm’s Solutions Business.

“District Defend empowers government users managing highly sensitive and classified environments to mitigate security breaches from human error, limit advanced attacks, increase enterprise mobility, and enable secure communication. Simply put, District opens a world of possibilities for agencies managing data across multiple locations.”

District Defend technology combines RFID and military-grade security to create “Districts”—each a distinct physical location with varying levels of security access.

For example, when a District Defend-enabled device crosses into the perimeter of a secure location, the technology pushes the security protocols to the device —regardless of whether the device is powered on.

These security rules can enable access to networks as appropriate and disable firmware functions that could capture and transmit secure information like the capability to record, use USB ports and access fraudulent networks.

When the device leaves the secure location, access to sensitive information is closed off and encrypted with full functionality restored once the device re-enters an authorized location.

District Defend could lower costs for the U.S. government while increasing the efficiency of government workers. Government employees use a multitude of different devices and computers to manage information: unclassified devices that cannot enter a classified location and classified devices that require different levels of security based on the information being accessed.

District Defend-enabled devices give government employees a single device they can bring back and forth between spaces while keeping information contained and secured—serving as leadership-briefing books, on the go computers, enterprise desktop replacements and more.

District-enabled devices are ideal across a variety of scenarios, including:

  • Mixed use buildings: Many buildings with classified spaces have rooms with different classifications, including controlled unclassified spaces (e.g., conference rooms), and common unclassified spaces (e.g., lobby or cafeteria). District Defend-enabled devices can adjust to their environments and enforce security policies for each space as the device is carried around the building.
  • Locked in transit: Devices in transit from manufacturing plant to end user are often at risk of compromise. District Defend allows for devices to be disabled and encrypted until they reach their desired destination, reducing the risk of breaches.

“District Defend, currently on the Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 device, will eventually be available on the full range of our mobile computers,” says Steve Harris, general manager and vice president of Dell EMC’s federal business.

“The pairing represents an ideal marriage of hardware, firmware, operating system and applications to create a tightly secured system.”

In addition to the application of District Defend to help protect classified government information, the technology is adaptable to the private sector.

In the future, it could help secure personally identifiable information and protect intellectual property and proprietary information – a threat that costs U.S. businesses hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

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