Tait helping to secure communications over the air

Tait Radio Communications, a global leader in providing radio solutions for public safety, will launch a new encryption solution at this year's APCO International Conference and Expo in Houston, TX, Aug 1-4.

The new Tait Key Management Facility (KMF) is a flexible, powerful tool for any agency seeking to confidently and efficiently manage its P25 encryption across their entire fleet. This managed encryption helps remove the threat of eavesdroppers listening in on private conversations between public safety first responders.

"The critical aspect is that the keys used to encrypt and decrypt messages are managed well, because badly managed encryption can be worse than no encryption at all," says Simon Britten Tait Senior Product Manager who is presenting "Improving radio communications through better Encryption Management," at the APCO show.

"Only the easy-to-use Tait KMF has a custom Dashboard enabling each crypto officer to see information the way they need to. Different teams' keys can be updated at a time to suit their operational profile," says Simon. "The Tait KMF can update groups of radios over the air, at the press of a button. Other manufacturers' P25 radios can also be managed conveniently, while remote diagnostics save technicians' time.

"Secure radio communications are essential for public safety organizations wanting to improve the safety of their staff and the communities they serve. Crucial and sensitive information is often exchanged across radio communications networks, and if intercepted by third parties, this information could compromise the safety of first responders as well as the general public. These first responders will share high quality information and perform at their best when they are confident that their messages are heard only by the intended recipients," adds Simon.

"The biggest threat to secure encryption comes internally. In particular, key and radio mismanagement can leave an organization more vulnerable than if they do not have encryption. If encryption is compromised as a result of poor key management procedures it can often lead to a heavily increased workload, result in heavy financial costs or worse: put first responders and the public in danger. Tait has developed an encryption solution and offers a range of services to ease the burden of secure communications for public safety agencies," concludes Britten.

The Tait Key Management Facility offers several important advantages:

  • Easy to use and customizable: As the only KMF with a custom Dashboard, this Over-The-Air Rekeying (OTAR) tool enables each crypto officer to set up, sort and see the keys, groups, radios, and tasks they are interested in.
  • Meets different teams' needs: Benefit from total DES/AES security while also enabling different teams' keys to be updated at a time which suits their size and operational profile. This increased confidence in the system greatly reduces RF traffic and user requests to rekey.
  • Makes the complex simple: Reminders helpfully prompt when keys may need changing, while Key Update Tasks can be scheduled and deployed without the crypto officer being present. Status bars show how current keys and update tasks are, and color coding and visual displays make decision-making clear and simple.
  • Value for time and money: A complete set of diagnostics across all devices allows crypto officers to troubleshoot and resolve problems remotely, saving technician time and money by avoiding visits altogether.
  • Security and certainty with Tait OTAR: Badly-managed encryption can be worse than no encryption at all. Choose the efficient and easy-to-use Tait KMF as part of a Tait P25 conventional or trunked OTAR infrastructure solution, secure and certain that officers and citizens will be safer.
  • Comprehensive solution: Have confidence that all radios are accessible with Tait's key transfer capability. Commission new radios or update radios that are not reachable by the OTAR system by transferring keys from the KMF to a Tait Key Fill Device (KFD).

Tait has developed an industry-leading encryption management solution based on the requirements and advice of our customers. The solution components comprise a KMF, KFD and over the air rekeying (OTAR) supported by Tait P25 networks and terminals.

* Simon Britten will be presenting Improving radio communications through better encryption management at the APCO 2010 show in Houston, Texas. The presentation will be held on Monday August 2nd, 2-3pm.

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