02 Oct Madison police adopt digital lock and key
Madison, Wis. — The Madison police department has moved to speed up information access for officers, with the addition of an eToken USB key system provided by Aladdin Knowledge Systems.
“It has proven to provide a robust and dependable situation that’s easily adopted by police officers, who are now free to focus on protecting the city of Madison with unparalleled secure mobile access to critical information,” said Neil Sullivan, the company’s enterprise security regional manager.
The eTokens, which are the size of a normal key, can be plugged into the USB port of any laptop or computer terminal that is linked up with the city network. When inserted, the system determines whether or not the officer can access the information based on two factors: the certification encoded on the eToken when it is issued to the officer, and the eToken PIN number that the officer knows. Once authorized, the officer can access the main network, viewing police records and the internal e-mail system.
The tokens have been used in several companies, but Madison’s application of the system is its first public-sector use, officials said. While the eTokens will eventually be distributed throughout the entire force, due to budget constraints the initial release will be limited to patrol officers and sergeants.
“We tried to pick the staff that needed the information the most,” said Rich Beadles, IT manager for the city. Beadles said officer training would only take about ten minutes.
The system will not be creating a brand new network, but rather will be incorporated into Madison’s existing conditions. The eTokens will be combined with the Microsoft smart-card logon the city uses to secure data, adding a public key infrastructure to serve as a second level of protection. Beadles said this was important in choosing eTokens for the system, as the city needed a two-factor application to further protect information.
“By combining the eToken with PKI technology the City of Madison employs a very strong two-factor method for access control and data integrity for their network,” Sullivan said. “With the growth of wireless networks, PKI understanding, and requirements for two-factor authentication we expect the market to grow exponentially every quarter going forward.”
Les Chappell is a staff writer for WTN and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.