A former U.S. cybersecurity advisor is spearheading a new consortium to help first responders better prepare for crisis situations such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The consortium, which was announced on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, includes some of the top security solutions providers, such as HID Global, OMNIKEY and PGP.
Washington, DC — Howard A. Schmidt, former U.S. cybersecurity advisor, has announced the Tiers of Trust™ consortium to assist First Responders, such as the New York Fire Department, International Red Cross, State of California Public Health, and Verizon in successfully preparing for crisis situations. First Responders are the backbone of America’s critical infrastructure, including law enforcement, fire, hazmat, rescue and public health organizations as well as private sector utilities, communications and transportation companies responsible for responding to national and local emergency situations. The consortium aims to solve problems experienced by these organizations during 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. For more information about the Tiers of Trust go to www.TiersofTrust.com.
Some of the major problems during past crisis situations were due to unreliable identification of First Responders. During the 9/11 attacks over 300 First Responders in New York were lost because officials could not account for who entered and left the scene. While in DC, response officials rushing to the Pentagon were denied entry because their identities and privileges could not be verified. During the Hurricane Katrina recovery, hundreds of licensed medical personnel were not deployed effectively because they could not prove their credentials and certifications. To fix problem such as these, the government developed new identification requirements through Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12) and the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS 201) for federal employees and contractors.
“While this regulation serves a number of worthwhile goals, the implementations to date have created difficulties with the budgets within these First Responder groups, making compliance a lengthy and costly process,” said Howard A. Schmidt. “Our goal is to enable First Responders to meet the federal requirements at a fraction of the cost, allowing them to spend budgets on much needed equipment and training.”
Tiers of Trust enables First Responders to implement graduated privileges based on identities. The consortium grants registered First Responders free access to high-tech software to create identification credentials with contactless smart cards, using the mandatory FIPS 201 fields of the FASC-N (Federal Agency Smart Card Number), CHUID (Card Holder Unique Identifier), and expiration date.
HSPD-12 outlines policy for a common identification standard for federal employees and contractors. With regard to secure and reliable forms of identification, HSPD-12 states “The Standard will include graduated criteria, from least secure to most secure, to ensure flexibility on selecting the appropriate level of security for each application.” The Tiers of Trust program implements this risk-based concept initially for first responders, realizing that not all first responders will ever need to gain “physical access to federally controlled facilities and logical access to federally controlled information systems”. Thus careful classification of roles and privilege levels may yield a significant headcount where a significant cost savings is not only prudent, but advisable.
“Right now, it is cheaper to rebuild everybody’s house rather than to give First Responders a smart card,” said Jon Callas, CTO and CSO of PGP Corporation. “Tiers of Trust is changing this.”
Howard A. Schmidt is spearheading the Tiers of Trust consortium with leading security organizations including HID, SNS (Secure Network Systems), PGP Corporation, OMNIKEY, Catcher, TX Systems and Clear Government Solutions.
Discounted product offerings are as follows:
The Emergency Management One™ card is only available to registered First Responders. The special high-durability composite card stock from industry leader HID Global has been engineered and built specifically for all-hazards emergency management and is being offered in discounted packages through SNS in conjunction with the Tiers of Trust program. An extensive line of FIPS 201-approved iCLASS® access control readers compatible with SNS’s full NIMS-IMPACT ™ solution is also available from HID Global.
The SNS Write-IMPACT program V3.0 which electronically personalizes the contactless chip in a smart card with mandatory FIPS 201 information is free to registered first responder organizations. Using other low-cost additional features of Write-IMPACT, the capabilities can be expanded to include pin codes for unlocking portions of the stored information, digital certificates and future biometrics capabilities in a seamless growth path.
PGP Corporation, a global security company with more than a decade of expertise in enterprise data encryption solutions and intelligent key management, is offering its PGP® Encryption Platform and integrated applications ranging from gateway email to whole disk encryption. With a FIPS-140-2 Level 1 validated cryptographic core, the platform infrastructure supports no-charge OpenPGP digital certificates as well as traditional X.509 PKI certificates, allowing an organization to choose from self-certifying through a managed services provider, depending upon specific needs.
OMNIKEY, one of the world´s leading manufacturers of innovative, FIPS 201-approved smart card readers, offers the most diversified product portfolio available on the market today. As a member of the HSPD-12 Interoperability Consortium, which addresses the needs of US government agencies and system integrators, OMNIKEY is uniquely suited to support the Tiers of Trust program.
Catcher, Inc, a leader in full-function, ruggedized handheld mobile computing platforms, is offering the Catcher V2.0 platform which features enhanced video/voice/data communication as well as identity authentication for field use. The converged platform collapses separate devices into a single unit, which can withstand adverse conditions, including extreme temperatures (-30C to +55C), 98% humidity, and highly dusty environments.
TX Systems, a leading worldwide provider of smart card solutions, is offering support and fulfillment services. “SNS’s visionary approach to managing user credentials and authentication produces a cost-effective solution that will help revolutionize First Responder systems in the field. Tx Systems is proud to be a technology provider that facilitates the Tiers of Trust innovative approach,” said Jason Wimp, Director of Operations of Tx Systems.
Clear Government Solutions (CGS), an emerging leader in deploying FIPS 201 compliant services, is offering Issuance Training and Certification curriculum, Graphical Personalization and complete end-to-end Managed Services. CGS is a GSA certified SIN 132-62 Qualified FIPS 201 Provider, and their managed services facility is also ISO 9000 certified.
To be eligible for the program, you must be a registered First Responder organization within the United States of America or US territories. This includes law enforcement, fire, hazmat, rescue and public health organizations as well as private sector utilities, communications and transportation companies. Applications are due by 12/31/2007 with priority to the first 500 organizations.
The program embraces large through small organizations; however the highest-ranking official within the organization must acknowledge and approve participation in the program. Appropriate management commitment is a requirement to ensure the predetermined level of trust is established, accredited officially and maintained.
“The whole point of Tiers of Trust is to help First Responders do their jobs by providing them with cost-effective and reliable identity and privilege management,” said Melani Hernoud, CEO of SNS. “It is the million dollar hammers problem we are trying to avoid. This consortium provides effective use of taxpayer resources and equips first responders according to their real level of need, versus one size fits all. There are well over three million First Responders in the US required to meet FIPS 201 compliance in order to continue eligibility for federal preparedness grants. Compliance costs would hit taxpayers with an approximately three hundred million dollar bill to pay. The Tiers of Trust consortium is offering discounts to cut this cost by seventy-five percent. This is a significant benefit to the safety of all Americans.”
Research and evaluate FIPS 201 Approved Products and get the latest info on compliant credentialing systems at FIPS201.com. Click to visit FIPS201.com.