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Samsung Galaxy Devices Get Important Security Clearance

The new FIPS-140-2 security rating opens up the devices for use in government applications. What edge does this give Samsung?

Samsung has just received Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) approval for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi, the 4G LTE-enabled Galaxy Tab 10.1 with Verizon, and the global version of the Galaxy S II smartphone.

FIPS is a U.S. government standard certified through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The standard treats a certified device or application as a cryptographic module, and a FIPS certification means the modules meet strict security and interoperability standards. FIPS certification is required for many branches of the government and its contractors, as well as for private industries that collect and transmit Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information.

“Samsung proactively sought FIPS certification to show our current and potential government and business customers that we take their security and interoperability needs seriously," said Cho BumCoo, a Samsung vice president, in a statement.

In addition to FIPS, Samsung recently took the wraps off its own Samsung-Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) certification, which ensures that compliant devices meet industry standards for security, as well as support for enterprise technologies like Microsoft Exchange.

This now means that U.S. government employees who require FIPS-enabled tablets to operate have another option besides BlackBerry PlayBooks, previously the only tablet on the market with FIPS, for the technically superior Galaxy Tab. It will also allow the same employees and contractors to finally ditch their BlackBerries for a Samsung Galaxy S II. The iPhone and iPad currently do not have FIPS approval, although Apple is working on it.

If you're in the business of getting government contracts or working for health care, legal, or financial industries, you may very well already be familiar with FIPS. FIPS-classified devices may be a prerequisite for being awarded a contract with the government or any firm concerned about security.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.

Angela West dreams of opening a Fallout-themed pub featuring wait staff with Pip-Boys. She's written for big insurance companies, small wildlife control businesses, gourmet food chains, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @angelawest and Facebook.

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