U.S. Army Europe to improve computer security

HEIDELBERG, Germany — U.S. Army Europe information management officials are introducing a new solution to a Department of Defense requirement to protect locally saved data on government computers as of June 29.

That requirement calls for information, known as “data at rest," to be encrypted to safeguard it if the computer is lost or stolen.

Earlier this year the original plan to implement data at rest security was unsuccessful. Many users experienced computer down time, lock-outs, and a variety of other problems after the original software was installed.

However, USAREUR computer information systems experts are now working towards a new solution using a Microsoft program named BitLocker, which is expected to work more efficiently.

Microsoft’s website claims that “BitLocker helps keep everything from documents to passwords safer by encrypting the entire drive that Windows and your data reside on. Once BitLocker is turned on, any file you save on that drive is encrypted automatically.”

“Because it is part of Microsoft’s operating system, and not third-party, and because the installation and support are built in, implementation of BitLocker is much easier,” said Jonathan Lindow of USAREUR, who has been working closely with the new data at rest solution.

“It will increase your level of security. If your laptop is stolen…you’ll have assurance in knowing that your data is secure,” said Lindow.

Lindow also said multiple tests of the new software are being conducted before it is installed on every USAREUR computer.

“The first goal is making sure we have all of the support pieces in place so we don’t have any gaps in service,” said Lindow.

Although no official implementation date is scheduled, Lindow said BitLocker will not be installed until the experts are sure they can roll out the new software with minimum inconvenience to the user.

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