Federal Insights

Security On The Edge: How Is Your Agency Protecting Data at the Edge?

by walkerj ‎03-21-2017 08:47 AM - edited ‎03-21-2017 09:58 AM (1,957 Views)

It’s no surprise that the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding. IHS predicts that the number of IoT-connected devices will grow to 75.4 billion in 2025. While greater connectivity increases innovation and operational flexibility, these devices raise concerns about network security.

 

In January 2017, the Government Business Council (GBC) surveyed 442 federal employees about the state of their network security and what their agencies are doing to secure the data at the edge. Sixty percent of respondents cited security as the most important performance feature when it comes to the devices and sensors their agency uses to transmit data, ranking above stability, speed and accuracy. Further, 89 percent of those surveyed felt it was very or extremely important that devices operating on the edge, such as IoT-connected devices, were secure from malicious attackers.

 

Despite this agreement, 58 percent of respondents are only somewhat, not very or not at all confident about the security of edge devices. The most commonly cited tactic for securing the edge is also one of the easiest approaches for hackers to work around: stringent password requirements. What is causing these security gaps? Insufficient funding, slow procurement and lack of technical expertise were highlighted as top challenges. However, agencies can take steps to protect their networks from the edge to the core.

 

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Federal government IT professionals have always been committed to serving their fellow citizens. Long before there were IT departments or computers, federal employees were exploring ways to innovate and improve citizen services.

 

For example, in the 1880s the Census Bureau struggled to efficiently process data from a growing U.S. population. Bureau employee Herman Hollerith found a new way to process the increasingly large quantities of data the Bureau had collected during the 1880 census. Hollerith automated the tallying of data with a tabulating machine that became known as the Hollerith Machine and reduced processing tabulation time by nearly 900 percent.

 

In the 20th century we saw that same spirit of federal IT ingenuity displayed in the work of individuals like Dorothy Vaughn at NASA. Vaughn, whose story has been made famous by the film Hidden Figures, was a manager at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA) and took it upon herself to learn computer programming. Vaughn became critical to helping NASA incorporate IBM computers into its calculations. It’s important to note that Vaughn took the initiative herself to learn computer programming and understood the potential that emerging technologies would have on NASA’s mission.

 

These individuals became heroes at their agencies by taking risks and continually learning. This same spirit of discovery continues to move agencies forward today. Federal IT employees can improve how government serves the citizen and the warfighter and transform how their agencies meet their missions.

 

What does it take to become a federal IT hero? Start by tapping into professional curiosity, exploring emerging technologies and with experimentation.

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Creating Possibilities and Enabling Virtualization with OpenStack

by kevin.deterra ‎02-02-2017 12:57 PM - edited ‎02-08-2017 08:34 AM (803 Views)

Open source software and open standards continue to rapidly evolve data center technologies much in the same way that Linux and Android have enhanced our lives over the last decade. Thanks to them, it’s possible to order a pizza from top-ranked local shop on the way home from work or to find the closest gas station on the way to the airport in an unfamiliar city.

 

The agility these tools enable on a personal level can be brought to government and business through OpenStack and Software Defined Networking (SDN), making an impact on citizens and warfighters that goes far beyond the convenience of ordering a pizza. In government, what open source technology makes possible can help mitigate security concerns or maximize agency cost savings. Agility and customization are possible as a result of virtualization and open source, both open standards-based tools.

 

This blog will cover a range of open source tools that can help make new possibilities a reality for government and will illustrate how they work together to provide a flexible, virtualized environment.

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It is no surprise that cybersecurity is a growing concern for the federal government. The most recent FISMA report reflects 77,000 successfully executed cyber incidents occurring in 2015, a number that has increased each year. Part of the growing challenge is due to the diverse and ever-expanding number of endpoints and data sources for agencies to secure, especially on government campuses. With this landscape as a backdrop, campus environments require a tailored approach to security and encryption due to their varied department needs and multiple physical locations. Here are traits to look for:

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2016 will mark the fifth year government and industry leaders have come together to discuss IT infrastructure modernization, emerging tech trends and more at the 2016 Federal Forum, presented by Brocade.

 

For those with a greater interest in the technologies impacting government, the tech track provides a deeper level of insight. The tech track complements the technology pavilion and is designed specifically for techies, covering topics like network security, software-defined networking and DevOps.

 

As we prepare to take a deeper dive into network modernization at the Forum, here’s a preview of three key conversations that will frame the technical track.

 

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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 (3,400 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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Federal Partner Kickoff 2016: Paving the Way for the New IP

by jmuscare ‎01-11-2016 09:11 AM - edited ‎01-11-2016 09:14 AM (3,746 Views)

On December 3, the Brocade Federal Team joined forces with our strategic partners for the 2016 Federal Partner Kickoff. In collaboration with industry colleagues from VAR, Eco-System, and FSI communities we discussed Brocade’s direction for 2016, as well as upcoming trends in federal networking technology. 

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Network modernization is more than a buzzword. It is a real, mission-critical endeavor central to the goals of every federal agency. It is also one that, if left ignored, will have huge ramifications.

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