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Trusted Extensions Label Administration

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Updated: August 2018

Identifying the Site's Label Requirements

    SecCompany, Inc. is the name of a fictional company whose label requirements are modeled in this example. To protect the corporation's intellectual property, the company's legal department mandates that employees use three labels on all sensitive email and printed materials. The three labels, from most sensitive to least sensitive, are the following:

  • Confidential: Registered

  • Confidential: Need To Know

  • Confidential: Internal Use Only

The legal department also approves the use of an optional fourth label, Public. The Public label is for information that can be distributed to anyone without restrictions.

Satisfying Information Protection Goals

At SecCompany, the manager in charge of information protection makes use of all possible channels to communicate labeling requirements. However, some employees do not understand the requirements. Other employees forget about the requirements or ignore them. Even when labels are properly applied, the information is not always properly handled, stored, and distributed. For example, reports indicate that registered information is sometimes found unattended. Copies of registered information have been left next to copy machines and printers, in break rooms, and in lobbies.

    The legal department wants a better way to ensure that information is properly labeled without relying totally on employee compliance. The system administrators want a better way to control the following:

  • Who can view sensitive information

  • Who can modify sensitive information

  • Which information is printed on which printers

  • How printer output is handled

  • How email at various levels of security is distributed internally and externally

Trusted Extensions Features That Address Labeling and Access

Trusted Extensions software does not leave labeling decisions up to the discretion of computer users. All printer output from print servers that are configured with Trusted Extensions is automatically labeled according to the site's requirements.

    Even though security was not yet fully understood at the company, the manager in charge of information protection knew that Trusted Extensions could implement the following features immediately:

  • Automatic labeling of print jobs

  • Printers with restricted access by label

  • Email with restricted access by label

In Trusted Extensions, each print job is automatically assigned a label. The label corresponds either to the level at which the user is working or to the user's level of responsibility.

For example, when an employee works at the level of INTERNAL_USE_ONLY, the work should be accessible only by people who have signed nondisclosure agreements with SecCompany. When this employee sends email to the printer, the print job is automatically assigned the label INTERNAL_USE_ONLY.

The following figure shows the user's working label, INTERNAL_USE_ONLY, printed at the top and bottom of a body page of the email.

Figure 18  Label Automatically Printed on Body Pages

image:Graphic shows a body page with the INTERNAL USE ONLY label printed at the top and bottom.

Banner and trailer pages can include handling instructions. Printed below the sensitivity label, handling instructions provides distribution instructions for the printed material. The following example shows the text on the banner page of a print job. The sensitivity level of the print job is NEED_TO_KNOW in the department of HUMAN_RESOURCES.

                           NEED_TO_KNOW HR


The instructions state that the information is only for human resources personnel who need to know the information. Also, the human resources personnel must have signed a nondisclosure agreement.

To retrieve a labeled printout, users must have access to a printer that prints at the label of the print job. A printer can be configured to print jobs at every label. For security, printers are configured to print only jobs within a restricted label range.

    For example, How a Printer With a Restricted Label Range Handles Print Jobs illustrates that the legal department's printer has been set up to print only jobs that have been assigned one of three labels:

  • NEED_TO_KNOW LEGAL – Can be viewed only by permanent employees of SecCompany with a need to know within the legal department

  • INTERNAL_USE_ONLY – Can be viewed only by permanent employees of SecCompany and customers who have signed nondisclosure agreements

  • PUBLIC – Can be viewed by anyone

This printer setup excludes jobs that are sent at any other label. For example, this printer would reject jobs at the labels NEED_TO_KNOW MARKETING and REGISTERED.

Figure 19  How a Printer With a Restricted Label Range Handles Print Jobs

image:Graphic shows a printer that accepts jobs at 3 labels and rejects jobs at 2 other labels.

Printers in locations that are accessible to all employees can be similarly restricted. For example, printers can be configured to print jobs only at the two labels that all employees can view, INTERNAL_USE_ONLY and PUBLIC.

Similar to how the printer label range controls which jobs can be printed on a particular printer, a user's account label range limits which email the person can handle. The following figure shows email that is being labeled at the sensitivity label of the user's mail application. The email is sent to the mail application at that label.

Figure 20  User Receiving Email Within the Account Label Range

image:Graphic shows that email labeled “Need_to_know Sales“ and “Registered“ does not get delivered to the user.

At SecCompany, gateways to the Internet are configured to screen email so that emails at inappropriate labels cannot be sent outside of the company. Inappropriate labels are any labels except PUBLIC.