Tenix gets busy to harvest defence goodwill

Defence grade IT security vendor Tenix Datagate will reposition its business as a US- and UK-centric operation in an effort to expand sales and leverage Australia's most favourable status with its military partners in the wake of Australian operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tenix Datagate's executive general manager Peter Croft told Computerworld that the company has already engaged a corporate headhunter to recruit a US chief executive and general manager in anticipation of their Interactive Link network separation product achieving EAL7 accreditation from the National Security Agency in December. EAL7 is the highest possible US information security product evaluation standard, and is required for products deployed in designated secure (Top Secret) government and military facilities.

Interactive Link, developed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and licensed to Tenix, allows users to be simultaneously connected to secure and non-secure networks through what Croft describes as a "one-way data-diode".

While Tenix has had predictable success selling Interactive Link into the defence and government security space in Australia, it has been largely hamstrung for exports due to strict export restriction governing such technology. Essentially, Tenix Datagate is only allowed to sell into the 'friendly' sphere of nations such as the US, Canada, UK and NATO states.

One obvious boost for Tenix sales will be a newly formed partnership with US defence contractor Lockheed Martin which has, quite coincidentally, secured a contract and a $300 million taxpayer-funded deposit to provide Australia with its Joint Strike Fighter capability. Another interesting coincidence is that Lockheed Martin is also one of the US military's providers of communications and networking infrastructure.

Over in the UK, Croft says Tenix has been persistently plugging away on the "glacially slow" tenders for forthcoming upgrades of the Ministry of Defence HQ in October, followed by a £4 billion rebuild of Britian's Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) being fought out between Lockheed Martin, CSC, EDS and IBM GSA. As a result, Croft feels it is beneficial not to engage in any exclusivity agreements with any particular vendors at present - apart from other parts of Tenix.

Locally, Datagate has most recently been deployed by the Victorian Police - on the back of a traffic management outsourcing deal - that will see another Tenix branded company take over management of Victoria's speed and red light cameras.

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More about CSC AustraliaDefence Science and Technology OrganisationEDS AustraliaGSA GroupIBM AustraliaIBM GSALockheed MartinNational Security AgencyNATOTenixTenix DatagateVictorian Police

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