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There is security, and then there is Security. HP, with its new multi-level security services for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 is now offering Common Criteria certified level security for this Linux on its server and desktops.

Common Criteria is an ISO security framework standard. It is frequently required in government computing contracts. It is also, historically, difficult for open-source software to obtain, as described briefly in “Free-Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) and Software Assurance” (PDF Link) by David A. Wheeler, an author and software developer.

Erik Lillestolen, HP’s government program manager for the open-source & Linux organization, hopes that these new offerings will help get not just HP computers, but Red Hat Linux as well into secure federal government offices.

The new services include five support services. Support options include long-term support, MLS solution on-site training, MLS
solutions design, implementation and validation, MLS Support and Standard Support with level 1 and level 2 care pack. All of these are provided by Hewlett-Packard. Red Hat, in turn, supports HP, but for a customer there’s only, as the saying goes, “one throat to choke” in case there’s a problem, and that throat is HP’s.

The services are compatible with a wide range of HP hardware products, including HP ProLiant, HP BladeSystem and HP Integrity servers as well as select workstations, desktops and notebooks. It is these hardware/OS platforms used together than have been Common Criteria certified.

“Multi-level security is mission-critical for customers managing top-secret information, such as government agencies. HP is thrilled to
deliver customers the first MLS offering for Linux in the industry, enabling the utmost in security without the complexity and cost of a proprietary operating system,” said Lillestolen. “This is an important step in combating the perception that taking Linux security to the next level is a long and complicated process.”

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