Government computer users within U.S. Army in Europe will soon implement new 'data at rest' security program

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
July 19, 2010

All personnel using government computers within the U.S. Army in Europe will be taking part in the installation of new "data at rest" protection software for their systems in the weeks ahead, said USAREUR information assurance officials.

"Data at rest" refers to information contained in a computer's hard drive. Army regulations require that all information on the hard drives of government computers be protected to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing sensitive but unclassified or personally identifiable information in the event the hard drive, or the computer that it is in, is lost or stolen. Security measures such as data encryption and password protection are often employed to prevent hackers or unauthorized users from accessing, altering or stealing that information.

Microsoft’s BitLocker security program is the Enterprise Data at Rest Solution for the Army in Europe, IA officials said, noting that Bitlocker provides a large cost savings to the Army, increased reliability and higher levels of support for Army in Europe customers.

To assure that BitLocker is free from the problems experienced during earlier data at rest projects, multiple tests of the new software are being conducted before it is installed, said Jonathan Lindow of USAREUR G6, the command's information systems directorate. In addition, the directorate has trained help desk personnel and provided training and documentation to Information Management Officers and servicing signal battalions to assist customers and address issues. The directorate has also set up an online documentation and help folder that will be available to customers and information technology support staff.

In the coming weeks Army in Europe personnel will receive a notice with the information needed to install Bitlocker, Lindow said. Each user will be responsible for initiating the BitLocker encryption process. This process is mostly automated, he added, but a few steps require customer involvement. The customer will need to change the PIN at the end of the installation.

Users need no administrative rights to install Bitlocker, Lindow said. Organization IMOs will assist with questions about the BitLocker encryption process and ensure customers know where to get the documentation and resources needed to implement the program.

Although testing of BitLocker has been highly successful, Lindow said, it is always recommended that users back up any critical files prior to drive encryption.

For more information, government computer customers can visit the BitLocker help folder on the USAREUR enterprise portal at https://eep.army.mil/119/user/BitLocker/default.aspx . BitLocker Installation and other support documentation is available at https://eep.army.mil/119/imo/BitLocker/default.aspx . These links are available to official users on the .mil domain only.