– Michael Helms, director of product management for Emerson Network Power’s Avocent business (www.emersonnetworkpower.com), says:

Emerson Network Power has released the industry’s first National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL)2+ certified eight-port KVM switch series, the Avocent SwitchView 680 and 780. The new KVM series provides access to secure and non-secure networks with the ability to keep private data completely separate and secure at all times. The switch series is specifically designed to make unintended data transfer between connected computers virtually impossible – an important factor for maximum security installations.

The release of this new KVM series continues our record of delivering significant technological advancements for the world’s most sensitive computing environments. This release represents yet another first in Emerson Network Power’s long history of leading the secure KVM space since inventing the very first secure desktop switch ten years ago under the Cybex brand.

Prior to the release of an EAL2+ compliant eight-port switch, some companies combined multiple switches (for example, hooking two four-port switches into each other for a maximum of seven ports) which was prone to human error. With the new Avocent SwitchView SC 680 and 780 KVM switch series, user error is sharply reduced while conserving space.

“While doing integration work for the Combatant Commands within the Department of Defense, the new Avocent SwitchView Secure KVM allowed us to upgrade to a NIAP approved EAL 2+ system while reducing the desk space used by the device by approximately 50 percent. The installation was smooth and the switch allowed us to provide seamless access to seven systems while remaining in complete compliance with the EAL2+ standard,” remarked Pat Morgan, President of FSPS, Inc.

In 2006, customers began requesting USB connectivity but there was no explicit guidance from NIAP. In collaboration with many customers and partners, the company chose to restrict USB connections to keyboard, mouse, and on certain models, smart card or CAC readers. Other vendors chose an open USB approach.

When Wikileaks and other high profile security breaches occurred, it became evident that the ordinary USB connection could be a problem. NIAP then made the decision to revisit USB connections. In September 2010, a new protection profile was released restricting all USB devices except for keyboard and mouse.

The Avocent SwitchView 680 and 780 KVM switch series provides multiple levels of physical security and controlled USB connectivity. Users can consolidate up to eight workstations of varying security classification levels with a single keyboard, monitor and mouse without compromising network security. Some switches may allow users to override the protection profile. Rather than make an Information Assurance officials’ job more difficult, Emerson Network Power choose to follow the new profile.