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DOE lab goes digital to sign on the bottom line

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March 08, 2004 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — Jeff Day in the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest Site Office signs off on about 150 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) proposals submitted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory every year. This year, for the first time, he did it without lifting a pen.

Day was the first DOE employee in the nation to digitally sign a business application using Entrust TruePass software, eliminating the time and cost associated with traditional paper-intensive processes. "As part of efforts by PNNL and DOE to automate applications, we can now use a few keystrokes to serve as a secure, uniquely identifiable and official signature," said Mark Hadley, a senior research scientist working on information technology infrastructure at the laboratory.

While PNNL has been using secure digital signatures to certify timecards and other internal business applications for more than a year, the concurrence signatures on the LDRD proposals mark the first time a DOE system and a laboratory system have been linked directly together. The improved LDRD proposal system is a web-based workflow system that routes data electronically for concurrence. The process previously required routing hard copies of documents, waiting for as many as six physical signatures per proposal and keeping papers on file as part of required record-keeping.

The LDRD program is a mechanism that allows DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration laboratories to build and maintain their capabilities for meeting critical national needs in science and technology. The program provides an opportunity for staff to conduct experimental research on advanced scientific areas that have the potential for important new discoveries and innovative solutions to difficult technical problems.

"With the electronic digital signature capability, we have decreased overall program costs, and streamlined the process for approving our LDRD projects, enabling our staff to begin their research work more quickly," said Pamela Hughes, who manages PNNL's LDRD program. "The electronic system also makes it easier for DOE to check the status of approved projects."

"This integrated deployment at DOE and PNNL is an example of digital signatures as a best practice for providing digital verification of electronic transactions efficiently and cost effectively," said Chris Voice, vice president, Identity Management, Entrust Inc. "Forward-thinking organizations such as DOE and PNNL are leaders in this kind of deployment, which delivers on the technology promise of cost savings and streamlined processes in compliance with regulatory guidelines."

The digital signature and automated workflow processes align closely with DOE's focus on cross-certifying with the Federal Bridge Certification Authority, a multi-agency program that enables federal agencies to securely communicate and share information. Entrust provides a technology foundation for this program. Joining the Federal Bridge Environment will make it easier for secure interactions with other government agencies by bringing them under a single umbrella for more automated exchanges of information.

Entrust TruePass software is an integral component of the Entrust Secure Identity Management Solution, which provides a comprehensive and cost-effective way to securely manage identities and access for users, applications and devices across client-server, Web and Web services architectures. More information on the Entrust TruePass software can be found at: Entrust Truepass. More information on the Entrust Secure Identity Management Solution can be found at: Entrust Identity Management/.


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