Former FBI Assistant Director Leads Covata to Cloud Encryption

Technology originally used by the Australian Special Forces could be useful to help secure data transfer in the U.S., says Covata Executive Chairman Chuck Archer.


These days, Chuck Archer—who once fought crime for the Federal Bureau of Investigation—is focusing on a new battleground: cyber-space.

Archer, who worked for the FBI from 1970 to 1998 and served as assistant director at the agency, is now executive chairman of security firm Covata and offers perspective the security field and his company.

Covata uses a combination of encryption key management and access controls to provide visibility, Archer explained. There is also an instant revocation ability to disable a user from being able to look at data.

"It really means we can move data securely over untrusted networks, including the cloud and mobile devices," Archer told eWEEK.

Covata this week announced an incremental update to its platform, enabling organizations to secure data at rest and in motion.

"We can secure data at rest in the cloud or in use," Archer said. "Our solution enables data to be secured and encrypted behind the firewall, and the keys to that data remain behind the firewall."

Archer explained that Covata got its start in Australia six years ago as encryption technology used by the Australian Special Forces.

"The lads could go to an Internet cafe and securely receive their marching orders," Archer said. "Today, in Australia, our technology is used in health care and in the Australian Tax Office to move data securely."

Archer joined Covata in February 2012 and is helping to lead efforts from the United States.

At one point in his career, Archer was the head of operations in the Identification Division at the FBI using ink and paper to roll fingerprints. He reminisced that some vendors came to the FBI with technology that enabled them to capture the fingerprint information to do computer-based matching.

"We were supporting 17,000 police departments, getting 50 million sets of fingerprints a year for both criminal and civil purposes," Archer said. "We worked with vendors to build the integrated, automated fingerprint identification system."

That automated fingerprint system enabled the FBI to be more efficient and operate faster.

Archer said that Covata's technology can be seen in a similar light. The Covata system is able to help ensure the integrity of data, which can potentially be a strong tool for law enforcement.

"We're doing use-case scenarios now with law enforcement for evidence collection," Archer said.

The Covata platform can be used to ensure integrity for the transfer of data from the point of collection at a crime scene, all the way to a court of law, helping to eliminate the possibility of evidence tampering at any point along the way, Archer said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.