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FCW : April 15, 2016
and managed services, and then wrapping those around an agency's current application and mission requirements. With this mindset, agencies can continue to adopt the right technologies to handle changing requirements without major network overhauls. Effective network transformation not only improves cybersecurity, service delivery times and overall mission response, but it also simplifies and reduces the cost of the agency's network operations. Federal executives agree. In a recent keynote address, Federal CIO Tony Scott said the modernization of the federal government's IT environment is a high priority. "We're going to have to replace large parts of what we have because [existing network architecture] just was never designed for the mission and for the challenges that we face today." ACHIEVE NETWORK TRANSFORMATION The modern network requires several key capabilities in order to provide to the agency the flexibility necessary to quickly deliver solutions that meet rapidly changing mission demands in a secure manner. These key capabilities include on-demand network scalability, endpoint virtualization, and multilayer security. On-demand network scalability: This is the ability of a network to scale up and down as needed to meet capacity and performance requirements. The best way to accomplish this is by incorporating software-defined networking (SDN), where a fully programmable and centrally managed network infrastructure can create a virtualized pool of network resources that users can access on demand. "SDN lets users get services that used to take 30 days or more to order and now can be installed in minutes," said Rob McLaughlin, Director of the Department of Defense Division of Ciena Government Solutions. "The idea is to be able to take advantage of smarter, more intelligent platforms and next-generation capabilities as they become available, and SDN provides a path that achieves that goal." Endpoint appliance virtualization: This is also called network functions virtualization (NFV). It's an effective way to improve both cost-efficiency and service delivery speed. It does both of these goals by moving network functions like routing, switching, firewalls, network accelerators and intrusion detection systems from hardware appliances to software that runs on off-the-shelf servers, network and storage platforms. With this software-based approach, it's easier to request and manage services, such as firewalls, routers, DPI and so on. Network managers can quickly and easily deliver services, and decommission them when appropriate. Contrast that to a typical request for a network accelerator from a large federal agency, which can take months because it involves physically provisioning the network. This concept can be extended beyond administrative services to field readiness. Warfighters, for example, could benefit by having their own commoditized x86 servers along with the controlling authority for specific missions. The system could push out profiles for those specific missions to authorized personnel, who would be able to use the resources and then tear them down once the mission is complete. When an unexpected need arises, it would be a simple, rapid process to provision a circuit between two points. MULTILAYER SECURITY Multilayer security is another benefit of a transformed network. And this depth of security has two primary aspects: Protect the Data: Modern networks secure both at-rest and in-flight data. To ensure that all data, regardless of protocol, is protected, employ encryption at Layer 1. Wire- speed encryption at the transport layer ensures that traffic will be encrypted from end to end, and latency will no longer be a concern. Protect the network: Protecting the network is also important to ensure both resiliency and data security. Driven by intelligent software, modern networks also improve situational awareness Sponsored Content SPECIAL REPORT NETWORK TRANSFORMATION * Survey results from the 2015 Federal Network Security Report by Market Connections and 2015 State of the Internet Security Report. Network Demands by the Numbers* 23: Percentage of federal respondents who rate their agencies as fully cyber- secure 25: Percentage of federal agencies that believe data on their network is fully protected 48: Percentage of federal respondents who say their current networks are too complex 56: Percentage of federal respondents who say lack of internal resources to implement and maintain networks are top challenges agencies face in improving their networks 75: Percentage of all Web application attacks targeted at U.S. sites 180: Percentage by which DDoS attacks have increased compared to the same time last year 1121: Percentage by which information security incidents affecting systems supporting the federal government have grown since 2006
March 30, 2016
April 30, 2016