Federal Insights

New Users and Devices on the Network? How to Maintain Security & Productivity

by bwright on ‎06-06-2017 08:14 AM - last edited on ‎06-15-2017 01:49 PM by Community Manager (2,720 Views)

You are a network administrator, responsible for running a campus area network spanning several buildings within a business park. Your company, Widget Inc., runs a portion of its manufacturing, all shipping and receiving, sales, support, admin and HR out of the buildings in the office park. At the same time, you provide support for the remote sales reps and a few overseas employees that offer oversight to an off-shore manufacturer of some of your Widget components.

 

Fortunately for Widget Inc., the buildings in use are close together, sharing parking lots and allowing for direct cable runs between each. This makes for an easier to build, deploy and maintain campus network infrastructure. However, the diverse nature of the operations that Widget Inc. maintains requires a robust network infrastructure providing wired and wireless access to employees, and wireless access to guests and visitors. With all business functions of Widget Inc. accessing the same network, security concerns have arisen.

 

As the network administrator, you must identify what your requirements are for a secure means of network access, both for internal and external users and for wired and wireless. For years, you’ve run an Active Directory (AD) server with LDAP and some type of NAT for your Windows-based desktops. However, several new employees have stated that they prefer to use Mac OS-based computers, all staff use smartphones now and warehouse staff use tablets to facilitate a new inventory application that you have been testing. At the same time, the devices brought in by your suppliers and visitors run all sorts of operating systems, from Linux-based laptops to Google Chromebooks. All of these devices need access to the guest network.

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2017 will see the beginning of a new presidential administration and holds the potential to be a year of action. With this in mind, I’d like to propose five New Year’s resolutions for federal IT leadership and the new administration that will enable real change in 2017.

 

Establish IT as central to agency missions and retire legacy systems

 

Federal agencies are beginning to understand the potential of digital transformation and how it supports their missions. Yet in order to power these technologies, IT modernization is critical. Just as a Lamborghini won’t run up to its full potential on a dirt road, the most cutting edge technologies will be limited by outdated infrastructure.

 

This coming year, agencies must resolve to retire all legacy systems that are more than ten years old. If IT infrastructure is older than your first cell phone, it can’t support digital transformation securely or effectively. For example, software-defined infrastructure and network solutions that offer visibility and automation allow agencies to adjust to unpredictable network traffic and the explosion of data caused by digital transformation. It’s time to prioritize these network options and serve citizens, taxpayers and our armed forces with the digital experience that they get everywhere else.

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From cloud to the Internet of Things, digital transformation is catching hold in government. While agencies are becoming better at identifying new technologies to support their needs and are working with industry to find solutions to mission challenges, innovation isn’t just about technologies themselves. To effectively speed IT advances, agencies are now considering a DevOps methodology.

 

A recent study found 78 percent of federal IT professionals feel DevOps can accelerate innovation at their agency. DevOps is a culture of trust and collaboration in which people use the right tools for automation to achieve continuous delivery. As a result issues can be resolved in days rather than months.

 

How can agencies know if DevOps is right for them and how can they adapt?

 

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At Brocade’s Federal Forum, government and industry will come together to discuss how new, innovative technologies will change the way the federal government serves citizens and warfighters through network modernization and the concept of the New IP. Many of the conversations at Federal Forum will focus on the possibilities modernization enables, but what does this mean in action? What does the technology look like?

 

To answer these questions, keynotes, breakouts and panel sessions will be coupled with a series of demonstrations in the Technology Pavilion. The Technology Pavilion will showcase advancements in network management and data visibility and provide an interactive experience that can be tailored to fit specific interests and questions from visitors to the Pavilion. Those who attend can expect to explore various aspects of software-defined networking (SDN), network security, high-performance analytics technology and much more.

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Technological advances in all areas across the federal government have changed the way agencies work and interact with citizens. For government agencies to keep pace with technological innovation, network modernization and a transition away from hardware-centric data centers must be a top priority.

 

Hardware-centric legacy data centers were not built to keep pace with the needs of modern IT and make provisioning new technology slow, expensive, and error-prone. This hinders innovation in the era of mobile, social, cloud, and big data and may even lead employees to turn elsewhere for services when delays and other issues prohibit productivity.

 

California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) is one example of an organization that was prohibited by its legacy networks and found a solution through a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). Challenges managing data center security policies and enabling efficient network provisioning negatively impacted DWR employees’ abilities to quickly access the applications they needed to do their jobs. The challenges faced by DWR are all too common in agencies across the federal government, as well.

 

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Security Services Abstraction via Software Defined Paradigm

by walkerj ‎02-08-2016 08:31 AM - edited ‎02-08-2016 10:29 AM (4,158 Views)

The recent explosion of connected devices, big data and cloud computing has led to revolutionary changes in our use of technology. While these innovative technologies have unleashed unparalleled possibilities for government agencies, they have also seriously threatened network security. Every new piece of technology added to the network – from sensors, to laptops, to cloud datacenters, to mobile phones – is a new endpoint that has the potential to be compromised.

 

 

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Securing the Future of U.S. Digital Infrastructure

by Anthony Robbins ‎01-18-2016 08:52 AM - edited ‎01-18-2016 09:18 AM (5,245 Views)

On December 9, 2015 industry leaders from Brocade, AT&T, General Motors and Facebook joined senior officials from the federal government, including U.S. CIO Tony Scott, to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing our nation, the Future of U.S. Digital Infrastructure.

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