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Leveraging your BYOD platform to prepare for the Internet of Things

Level 12

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers the promise of a more connected and efficient military, but Defense Department IT professionals are having a hard time turning that promise into reality. They’re deterred by the increasing demands and security vulnerabilities of more connected devices.

That hasn’t stopped defense agencies from exploring and investing in mobility and next-generation technology, including IoT devices. One of the points in the Defense Information Systems Agency’s 2015 – 2020 Strategic Plan specifically calls out the agency’s desire to “enable warfighter capabilities from a sovereign cyberspace domain, focused on speed, agility, and access.” The plan also notes “mobile devices…continue to transform our operational landscape and enable greater mission effectiveness through improved communication, access, information sharing, data analytics – resulting in more rapid response times.”

It’s a good thing the groundwork for IoT was laid a few years ago, when administrators were working on plans to fortify their networks against an onslaught of mobile devices. Perhaps unbeknownst to them, they had already begun implementing and solidifying strategies that can now serve as a good foundation for managing IoT’s unique set of challenges.

Tiny devices, big problems

The biggest challenge is the sheer number of devices that need to be considered. It’s not just a few smart phones; with IoT, there is literally an explosion of potentially thousands of tiny devices with different operating systems, all pumping vast amounts of data through already overloaded networks.

Many of these technological wonders were developed primarily for convenience, with security as an afterthought. There’s also the not insignificant matter of managing bandwidth and latency issues that the plethora of IoT devices will no doubt introduce.

Making the IoT dream an automated reality

These issues can be addressed through strategies revolving around monitoring user devices, managing logs and events, and using encrypted channels – the things that administrators hopefully began implementing in earnest when the first iPhones began hitting their networks.

Administrators will need to accelerate their device tracking efforts to new levels. Device tracking will help identify users and devices and create watch lists, and the challenge will be the number of new devices. And while log and event management software will still provide valuable data about potential attacks, the attack surface and potential vulnerabilities will increase exponentially with the introduction of a greater number of devices and network access points.

More than ever, managers will want to complement these efforts with network automation solutions, which can correct issues as they arise. This creates a much more streamlined atmosphere for administrators to manage, making it easier for them to get a handle on everything that touches the network.

A reluctance to automate will not work in a world where everything, from the tablets at central command to the uniforms on soldiers’ bodies, will someday soon be connected. It’s now time for federal IT administrators to build off their BYOD strategies to help the Defense Department realize DISA’s desire for a highly connected and mobilized military.

  Find the full article on Defense Systems.

12 Comments
MVP
MVP

Department of Defense, operational landscape and BYOD....to me BYOD is mutually exclusive to those environments.  It opens up too many avenues for exploitation.  Regarding the whole IoT "thing", there are times and places where it may be appropriate but in some cases it is just way too much data taking up bandwidth that serves no useful purpose.  Does everything really need an RFID chip, or some sort of SCADA telemetry beacon ?  Don't forget, some of the bandwidth is RF which raises the noise floor with background noise reducing range and effectiveness of devices such as cell phones...  A highly connected and mobilized infantry via some sort of network will produce some level of noise..cpu's and oscillators/clock devices required for timing and such noise unless shielded properly which adds weight, complexity, and cost.

Yes I see many great advances coming forward, but we need to see those as a tool and not become dependent on them like a crutch.

Thanks for the posting.

I recall Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where the U.S. and its allies deployed 802.11b for wireless video surveillance.  Unfortunately, it wasn't secure for military use, and the opposition was able to tap into the video feeds and see what our cameras and drones were seeing.  Worse, they were able to use those feeds to warn their side about surveillance and impending attacks, and even see U.S. and allies' situations from those same cameras.

I also remember starting up a new WLAN with a public Guest SSID, and discovering through DHCP address scope exhaustion that the few dozen folks Management said would be supported had quickly ballooned into over 9,000.

A former employee of the Center For Disease Control informed us that the CDC forbids wireless of all forms within its organization.  They understand that what may seem secure today might be easily broken by tomorrow's skills and technological improvements.

An Internet Of All Things can be an open invitation to malicious folks or their malware.  This week I read a story about folks with high end homes and high tech toys in those homes who'd had their systems hacked wirelessly, and bad people had gained access to their data through insecure wirelessly-enabled refrigerators, thermostats for Air Conditioning and furnaces, fireplaces, mood lighting, and stereo controls.  Worse, a business had its data security hacked through a wireless refrigerator:  Hackers Use A Refrigerator To Attack Businesses - Business Insider

If no one ever says "no" to wireless expansion and growth, it will remain out of control.

Level 20

This is going to get worse before it get better I'm afraid.  IPv6 and IP for every molecule in the universe o.O!

Level 7

very good notes

Level 14

Agree completely.  Considering that most of our work in completed on classified networks, BYOD has no place.

Level 20

No internet on air gapped networks!

Level 20

Jfrazier Come to think of it... we make that some sort of network! 

https://gdmissionsystems.com/c4isr/warfighter-information-network-tactical-win-t/

MVP
MVP

I didn't realize you worked for General Dynamics....my Grand Father worked at the GD facility in Fort Worth Texas back during the F-111a and F-16 days.

Level 20

That's neat!  GD did create the F-16 before my time but those were good ol' days!  It's a good company.  I've learned a lot.

Allow me to demonstrate how I have a firm grasp on the obvious.

  These problems are not exclusive the military or the government. The private sector is getting racked over how to secure the IoT. Right now it's the Wild West with danger and charlatans lurking in every dark corner.

No one will ever say no. The consuming world leverages and will continue to leverage wireless as the de facto standard. If we took the terms 'IoT' and 'BYOD' out of this conversation, the problems would be same.

IoT =

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About the Author
Joseph is a software executive with a track record of successfully running strategic and execution-focused organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and globally distributed teams. He has demonstrated the ability to bring together disparate organizations through his leadership, vision and technical expertise to deliver on common business objectives. As an expert in process and technology standards and various industry verticals, Joseph brings a unique 360-degree perspective to help the business create successful strategies and connect the “Big Picture” to execution. Currently, Joseph services as the EVP, Engineering and Global CTO for SolarWinds and is responsible for the technology strategy, direction and execution for SolarWinds products and systems. Working directly for the CEO and partnering across the executive staff in product strategy, marketing and sales, he and his team is tasked to provide overall technology strategy, product architecture, platform advancement and engineering execution for Core IT, Cloud and MSP business units. Joseph is also responsible for leading the internal business application and information technology activities to ensure that all SolarWinds functions, such as HR, Marketing, Finance, Sales, Product, Support, Renewals, etc. are aligned from a systems perspective; and that we use the company's products to continuously improve their functionality and performance, which ensures success and expansion for both SolarWinds and customers.