The New Mexico State Police have deployed a FIPS 140-2 certified Columbitech Mobile VPN (virtual private network) on laptops used in more than 500 police cars across the state, the company announced.
The Columbitech Mobile VPN improves officers' safety by providing secure, uninterrupted access to mission-critical applications such as vehicle registration and warrant databases as officers move in and out of coverage and connects via 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, and satellite. Two-factor authentication and 256-bit AES encryption protect against unauthorized access and eavesdropping.
"It is absolutely mission-critical that our officers can access information from their laptops at any time to find out who they are dealing with before they approach somebody in a car," said Darrell Graham, IT systems manager of the New Mexico State Police. "Columbitech's mobile VPN ensures that officers always have access to information such as vehicle registrations, warrants and FBI databases so they can call for backup and avoid dangerous situations."
In a mountainous state with large areas with no cellular coverage, New Mexico troopers often rely on satellite links to communicate. Prior to implementation, laptops often lost the connection to the network, causing sessions to drop and applications to crash. Unlike the legacy VPN that didn't handle roaming well, Columbitech Mobile VPN creates a persistent network connection, and officers in the field can continue to work as usual even if the computer roams or temporarily loses the connection.
Columbitech's VPN solution is designed to handle high-latency satellite networks. It uses advanced data compression, providing up to 100 percent faster throughput with significant impact on performance and costs for satellite communication.
Additionally, the Columbitech VPN has the capability to filter data traffic. The state of New Mexico uses this feature to restrict which applications can be accessed over satellite and allows access only to officer-safety apps, which lowers the monthly satellite bill, acording to Columbitech.
"Columbitech's unique combination of FIPS 140-2 certification and mobility features, including session persistence and advanced data compression, makes our mobile VPN ideal for any public safety agency looking to provide mobile workers secure and persistent access – independent of network availability,” said Tobias Englund, president of Columbitech.
Columbitech Mobile VPN is a software-based VPN built on the TLS protocol. It includes a VPN client that's installed on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. A VPN server runs on a Windows or Linux server with support for virtualization.