Monday, December 19, 2011

NASA Tests New Smart Card Access to Google Apps

NASA recently began a pilot using Google Apps, a suite of applications that brings services such as Gmail, Google Docs and other products together to help workers in today's business environment. NASA IT Labs, a part of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), sponsored the pilot to meet the growing demand from workers to access resources on any device.

About 600 IT staff from 11 NASA centers and facilities are participating in the pilot, which offers cost savings by managing user's identities, credentials and access via cloud computing using on-demand software. Cloud computing refers to resources and applications that are available on the Internet from nearly any Internet-connected device. No sensitive NASA data is being placed in the cloud.

Under the pilot, NASA users can connect to Google Apps for Government using an existing NASA work ID, which also functions as a smart card in the card reader of compatible computers. The card was created as a common identification standard for federal employees and contractors to increase security and reduce opportunities for identify fraud.

The pilot complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002, which is designed to protect the nation's critical information infrastructure. Because no new ID or credential is needed, NASA complies with the law and workers can access secure materials from any smart device.

NASA also accepts and electronically verifies personal identity verification (PIV) credentials issued by other federal agencies through a credential registration process. With this capability, any authorized federal PIV card, which includes the DoD Common Access Card, may be used today for authentication to the Google Apps for Government NASA site.

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