EF Johnson Technologies last week introduced the Johnson Encryption Machine (JEM II), an embedded solution that is designed to provide enhanced security for mission-critical communications in a smaller form factor.

Encryption engines — including EF Johnson’s JEM I product — often are housed in a box that is separate from the rest of the network, said Ed Kelly, EF Johnson’s vice president of marketing and business development. In contrast, JEM II is hosted on a PCMCIA card that will run on any PC platform, he said.

“In other solutions where you need encrypted communications, there’s typically a box that sits outside in a rack that encrypts the stuff and passes it onto the console, so there’s a part of your encryption set that’s unsecure,” Kelly said. “By embedding it directly into the computing platform that hosts your console application, there’s no physical point where you can get the data unsecured.

“There’s no outside boxes where you can splice into a wire and get unencrypted communications, so it’s much more robust in terms of security.”

The PCMCIA form factor also can be more cost effective, because no external boxes are needed, Kelly said. This is especially true in situations where an operator must rent rack space.

In addition to its physical attributes, JEMS II provides AES/DES encryption capability and features 10% to 25% more processing power than the vendor’s JEM I product, Kelly said. Leveraging JEM II capabilities in the EF Johnson StarGate Dispatch Console enables call processing of up to 350 simultaneous encrypted calls.

Although EF Johnson plans to deploy the JEM II with its own solutions, the new encryption engine could work on other vendors’ systems, as well, Kelly said.

“We haven’t licensed the technology, but it will run on any standard PC platform,” he said. “I haven’t offered it to anybody else yet.”