Industry experts: Information assurance key to vision of a joint enterprise

If the future of LandWarNet is part of a collective enterprise, and that enterprise is all about providing data to the people who need it to make decisions, then few elements of the chain are more important than that of information assurance (IA).

The subject was discussed in the only industry panel of the show in Fort Lauderdale this week, one in which non-Army or Defense Department executives were allowed to directly address the LandWarNet audience.

“First and foremost, never believe that you’ll be 100 percent accurate in addressing all IA threats,” said Don Renner, vice president of enterprise technologies and service for CACI International. “You want to look at IA for individual components and applications, the network it must work over and all devices it must work with.

“Often we’ve seen that IA is only focused on one aspect of that triad,” he added.

The industry panel was moderated by Judi Dotson, vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. In addition to Renner, participants included: Andy Lausch, who runs the federal government practice of CDW Corp.; Richard Skinner, vice president of global communications systems strategic planning for Lockheed Martin Space Systems; and John Martin, vice president and general manager of the Communications Network Division for General Dynamics C4 Systems.

Safeguards to assure data integrity become even more of an issue in today’s age of globalization, where systems are sourced for all over the world.

“We will assemble certain things at our facility and we test them at our facility,” explained Renner. “We understand the standard characteristics of the device before it goes out the door. It’s a defensive posture.

“The key is to put something in there so you can isolate it if it becomes an anomalous event. Part of the training for users should be about how to react when an IA event occurs.”

Panelists pointed out that the issue isn’t just globalization, as much as it is about the use of commercial off-the-shelf systems.

“How can you bake IA quality practices into the product when there’s an 18-month product cycle?” asked Martin. “You need to be able to update every 12 months on the next COTS refresh. You’ve got to build a little, test a little, train a little and field a little.”

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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