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1/14/2011
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CIA Invests In Secure Virtualization, Infrastructure Monitoring

Teradici and Red Seal, developers of secure desktop virtualization technology and continuous security infrastructure monitoring, respectively, have formed investment and development agreements with In-Q-Tel, the CIA-based investment firm.

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The Central Intelligence Agency has made new investments in companies that provide desktop virtualization and continuous monitoring technology to support the work of the U.S. intelligence community.

In-Q-Tel, the CIA-based investment firm that identifies technology for use by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, has formed investment and development agreements with two startups, Teradici and RedSeal.

Teradici, based in British Columbia, Canada, provides highly secure desktop virtualization technology called the PCoIP protocol. The protocol provides remote-display capability that eliminates the need for someone to use a desktop workstation, PC, or thin client to access a system, according to In-Q-Tel.

PCoIP is a good fit for the intelligence community because of how it handles security. Teradici's technology compresses, encrypts, and encodes a standard desktop computing experience at the data center and then transmits only the pixels across a standard IP network to secure clients that support it, including stateless PCoIP zero clients, thin clients, and mobile devices.

RedSeal, based in San Mateo, Calif., provides continuous monitoring for security infrastructure, which ensures that firewalls and other network access controls continue to work even as other aspects of IT infrastructure are modified.

The technology keeps IT administrators apprised of up-to-date security status information they can use to make cost-effective, risk-based decisions about IT systems, according to In-Q-Tel. This type of monitoring is especially important to the intelligence community due to the sensitive nature of the information it handles. Continuous monitoring also is a component of the federal government's risk management framework (RMF) and is required by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policy.

In-Q-Tel's investment in the companies means the organization will work with both to adapt and optimize their technologies for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

The CIA launched In-Q-Tel in 1999 as an independent entity to find useful new technologies to support the intelligence community's mission. Its most recent investments buck a trend for the CIA to invest in modern IT infrastructure technologies that pay close attention to security. In October, the firm struck similar partnerships with two startups -- Cleversafe and Silvertail Systems -- which provide secure technology for cloud computing and Web analytics, respectively.

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