DHS S&T Moves to Strengthens Mobile Device Email Security and Privacy

In a move to further secure mobile devices, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced April 14 that it is developing a new Cloud-Based Root-of-Trust (CRoT) technology.

“Large and small organizations alike now rely heavily on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets to enable their workers, customers, and management to connect and collaborate, even when some or all of them are working remotely,” DHS S&T explained in a statement.”For many corporate and government organizations, support for remote communication is mission-essential.”

Organizations typically purchase and administer their mobile devices, which are then given to employees for business communication. However, S&T points out that employees typically don’t want to carry a second device for personal communications and end up using their work phone for both.

S&T described this as the Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) model of device ownership, and noted that it “brings new security challenges to organizations.” Namely, users prioritizing convenience over security and accidentally sharing sensitive information with unintended audiences. “Solutions that address the users’ communication privacy, while enabling organizations to protect business content are essential to making COPE work for everyone,” S&T said in a statement.

The CRoT technology separates business from personal assets and enables enterprise policy enforcement for access to sensitive data, S&T said. The tech also offers privacy controls for both business and personal emails. With the new tech, enterprise security administrators can set security policy for each user’s enterprise email account, which S&T says will ensure that business messages are protected.

As for the personal email, S&T said that the CRoT technology allows employees to use and “retain full control” over their personal email accounts that are accessed via the corporate- or government-owned mobile device. Users can manage private email accounts in the cloud and on their device. Private emails can also be recalled at any time to “make them vanish.”

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.

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