Information sharing and collaboration is the backbone for effective mission success for the Department of Homeland Security’s federal, state and local partners. In order to achieve this, however, highly secure networks are required.

The Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) is the system that supports intergovernmental information sharing and collaboration, and now has a simpler way to verify their identities for security purposes.

DHS has recently implemented a backend attribute exchange to the HSIN, which now streamlines identity management by keeping users’ security credentials stored on local systems.

It also makes this information accessible from other network locations, and allows users to verify their identities at HSIN outposts – without their credentials having to move insecurely between the locations. The new exchange supplies a more efficient, more secure way for the visiting agency to verify the necessary information.

“Ensuring the identity of network users is critical to sharing information securely,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers, in this recent press release. “By strengthening data security, this innovation will better enable collaboration between DHS and our partners in support of our homeland security mission.”

According to this recent GCN article, more than 55,000 people use the 10-year-old HSIN for planning, response and daily operations. Users include federal, state and local officials in a wide-range of disciplines such as law enforcement, public health, emergency services, infrastructure protection, port security and other functions. In addition, private sector organizations are allowed to use the HSIN.

For developing an authentication system that will streamline collaboration, we are naming the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) as this week’s “GovTransformer.” Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.