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Tablet PC Data Security on the Battlefield

The dynamics of the battlefield have changed with information becoming one of the most important assets to military personnel.  In addition to acquiring enemy intelligence, protecting the information our troops utilize on ruggedized tablet PCs has become essential to the success of military operations around the globe. 

For years the military has sought to secure data in transit (DIT) through advanced encryption and secure networks as they communicated with personnel in the field or forward operating bases.  The newest challenge to information security is data at rest (DAR), which is stored on devices being used by our troops to evaluate battle plans, communicate wirelessly on secure networks, or any number of other battlefield usages now available to them with a tablet PC

rugged tablet pc military public sector battlefieldThe first, and often preferable, way to protect a DAR storage device is to remove the ruggedized tablet PC that holds sensitive information and store it in a secure location.  An additional option is to store highly valuable data on an accessory such as a USB flash drive or external hard drive and secure the memory device while leaving the tablet pc in its operational environment.  While these methods provide the best overall security it is just not viable when dealing with the hundreds of devices that need to be managed in a tactical deployment or other large scale operations. 

In cases where logistics dictate that large scale memory device removals are not possible data security is managed with advanced stored-data encryption.  The concept of data encryption has been present within the military's DIT security for decades but its application for DAR storage devices is relatively new. This kind of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) data encryption greatly reduces the cost of DAR encryption for battlefield use in less-than-secret data security matters, which have grown rapidly due to the increased usage of ruggedized tablet PCs in vehicles and by troops on foot.

The use of DAR encryption has also become increasingly popular for military applications that employ cloud computing and data storage.  By using a tablet PC in the field to access data that is physically stored securely, military personnel need only log in to secure servers for sensitive intelligence, storing only the most necessary and low level security data in the field.  Cloud-based data management systems also:

  • Reduce costs of mulit-layered encryption networks
  • Ensure the consistent flow of data
  • Simplify the process of updating intelligence and other data
  • Provide shorter implementation times
  • Facilitate extensive scalability

table pc military army operationsWith the rapidly growing implementation of field computing solutions through the use of tablet PCs, the military is moving toward DAR security through two basic means.  DAR storage devices can be removed from their operating environments and physically secured under lock key or the data stored on rugged tablet PCs can be encrypted, enabling the military to move secure data into the field.  The implementation of both DAR security methods is yet another tool in the success of our military operations around the world.



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