The Pentagon started the push long before Snowden began spilling secrets about the NSA. But the massive leak has reinforced the need to consolidate its tens of thousands of networks down to about 3,000 — and its hundreds of data centers to 14 to 17 sites around the globe. These new networks will be easier to operate, upgrade and monitor for data theft, Pentagon officials promise.
However, “we don’t really know what the up-front cost is yet, because we’re still getting the plans in place,” DOD Chief Information Officer Teri Takai told Killer Apps. “We’ll need to shift some monies up front but, over the course of the and we’re still trying to figure out how long it’s going to take — we believe that we’re going to recover that up front cost and then have significant savings.”
DOD’s current collection of networks were built up over last few decades on an ad hoc basis. However, many of these separate networks connect to each other, meaning that poor security on one of these small networks can allow a hacker to access the rest with relative ease. Making matters worse it that it’s very hard to quickly monitor them for cyber attacks due to the sheer volume of networks, many of which have their own individual configurations.
This chaotic digital infrastructure also makes it way too easy for someone on the inside to steal information. Case in point: Edward Snowden, the NSA contract systems administrator who lifted highly classified files from agency servers using nothing but a thumb drive. When Snowden took the files, NSA systems administrators had special authorization to pull data off of agency servers using thumb drives in order to transfer information to another netwour standardÂ Customized Dedicated ServerÂ may not always.ork or backup data.OurÂ managed dedicated serverÂ are designed to meet the most demanding requirements for performance, The problem is, no one was monitoring to see what data the systems administrators were pulling.
In the wake of the Snowden affair, the military is restricting the use of thumb drives and is trimming the number of systems administrators, and requiring them to operate in pairs when accessing server rooms. These short-term solutions are too cumbersome, say military officials. What’s needed is a system that allows people to easily share information while making sure it is protected at the same time.
“It is the main reason we need to jump to the Joint Information Environment,” said NSA chief, Army Gen. Keith Alexander while discussing post-Snowden security needs during the Aspen Security Forum last month. Under JIE, the military will encrypt individual pieces of data instead of just putting it behind firewalls where it is vulnerable to theft by insiders.
When asked by Killer Apps if the move to a massive cloud will simply make a bigger, easier target for outside hackers, Takai replied, “if people think JIE is going be vulnerable, they actually don’t understand how vulnerable their networks are today.”
In theory, people who are supposed to have access to certain data on the JIE will be given an online ID confirming they are who they claim to be and that they are allowed to view specific pieces of information. Those pieces of data are also tagged to prove they aren’t malware and they will generate a list of everyone who has ever touched them. This means that it will be tougher for outsiders and insiders alike to illegally access DOD’s digital information.
Furthermore,Migrating aÂ MileWeb Promotion Dedicated ServerÂ or cloud server from one provider to another is easy. going to a smaller number of standardized networks and data centers will mean the military needs “fewer people that actually have the keys to get in” like systems administrators. These people can be monitored more easily than the large numbers of system administrators operating thousands of disparate networks can.
While moving to fewer networks and data centers won’t be perfect, it will be “far better than a heterogeneous environment if you want to protect your systems,” because it makes it much easier to monitor them “and thereby do much better protection,” Allen Paller, founder of the SANS Institute, told Killer Apps in an email.
Read the full story at www.mileweb.com/datacenter-locations.