Modern Working in Public Administration

The digital transformation does not stop at classified informa­tion and other sensitive data. On behalf of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), secunet developed a solution that would offer the requisite security and, at the same time, be user-friendly: the SINA Workstation. The cryptographic client, which was originally conceived as a special solution for specific purposes, has since estab­lished itself as the standard PC in public administration, where it facilitates modern, mobile working. In autumn 2019 secunet announced a milestone. The success story continues, however: the solution is continually being developed and new user requirements and technologies integrated.

“The SINA Secure Inter-Network Architecture is one example of a successful public-private partnership,” BSI President Arne Schönbohm stated in October 2019 at the world’s largest trade show for IT security, it-sa in Nuremberg. Axel Deininger, secunet’s CEO, met Schön­bohm to mark a special occasion: 100,000 SINA Workstations S delivered. The cryp­tographic clients secure workstations within a number of authorities in Germany and Europe, including in many federal ministries. Thanks to their mobility and flexibility they have rev­olutionised work flows in authorities, where handling sensitive or classified documents is part of everyday responsibilities. Today, de­spite the stringent security requirements, their employees can fulfil their responsibilities just as independently when working from home or while out and about as employees in the private sector can. The key phrase is “new work”. The security of the sensitive informa­tion is guaranteed at all times. And develop­ment is ongoing: “We will continually adapt SINA to meet users’ needs and address their work scenarios,” says Deininger.

SINA: a secure environment, versatile hardware

The portfolio of SINA solutions is multi-layered and always offers the right product for the different requirements. At its core SINA builds a secure environment with sophisticated encryption technology that serves to transmit sensitive and classified information over po­tentially unsecured networks like the internet. IPsec-secured Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are used to achieve this.

The SINA Workstation functions as the client in these secure networks. It offers the advantage that several guest systems of differing secrecy levels that are sealed off from each other can be run in parallel on one device. This is achieved through virtualisation technology. The users can easily move be­tween the guest systems by just a mouse click, without having to use different devices to access different security domains. They can, for instance, work in a classified network and, at the same time, surf the (unsecured) internet. In addition they have access to their familiar work environment (e. g. MS Windows) at all times, without jeopardising the security of the data in the classified networks with which they work concurrently. Two-factor au­thentication and hard drive encryption prevent unauthorised parties from gaining access to the sensitive data.