European Union won over by Globull
The Secretariat-General of the European Commission has recently acquired several dozen Globull devices.
EU executive staff have a real need for tools that can process, store and exchange information while combining mobility with security
The Secretariat-General of the European Commission (SGEC) is made up of some 3,500 officials and related workers from the 27 EU member states. All of these people are potential users of mobile computing, as they are regularly expected to travel on EU missions, or are often obliged to work away from their usual office. What is more, the very nature of their jobs means they need to be able to handle and exchange sensitive or classified EU documents between themselves.
To meet this challenge, in 2004 the Secretariat-General of the European Commission launched the ‘NOMAD’ project: an initiative to enable staff to work from a single, standalone laptop PC, in order to create sensitive or classified documents, and then send them via any available communication channel, with end-to-end security, whatever the environment being used. The aim was, for example, that the loss or theft of the laptop would not compromise the security of the content held on it. This kind of solution was not really available ‘off-the-shelf’ on the huge scale required to supply all EU staff. So the SGEC carried out a security assessment survey, that led to the specification of a dedicated architecture which has been operational since 2006, but which comes at a cost, featuring a high-spec, rugged laptops and with TEMPEST countermeasures, certified encryption hardware card, encryption module for certified files, communication interfaces... It is also cumbersome physically, being both large and heavy. So it is reserved for those situations which involve information classified as highly sensitive in uncontrolled environments.
From TrustWay PPS to Globull: Bull’s historical expertise in IT security
When it came to handling less sensitive data, in 2007 the SGEC opted to implement Bull’s TrustWay PPS (Personal Protection System) USB keys. This was effectively the only product available that offered appropriate security guarantees to the level required by a government agency. So, because of its defense-standard technology, at the time it represented a real revolution in IT security.
Globull is based on the same technology as the PPS keys, and now offers a solution that goes one step further towards combining mobility and security, with technical advances including a much greater memory (60 GB), a system that operates under virtualized Windows XP, user-friendly human-computer interface, etc.
INFOSEC experts from the SGEC have now completed the configuration phase, adapting the Globull devices to meet the EU’s requirements, and they will soon be distributed to several categories of civil servants for field testing.
As Sébastien Léonnet, security expert working for the Secretariat-General of the European Commission commented: “Today, Globull is an integral part of the NOMAD project. It meets the challenge we face in handling, storing and exchanging sensitive information for all levels of data classification, up to and including ‘EU RESTRICTED’. It is also small, sober (something that is vitally important when it comes to carrying out our work in some countries) and people particularly like the way it is designed. I also think that this type of solution will eventually replace the extractable hard disks used on our classified LAN/WAN networks.”
Currently in the process of being configured and trialed within the SGEC, Globull was officially presented to all 27 member states at the beginning of April, at a meeting of one of INFOSEC’s Security Committees.