Cybersecurity

SDN looms large in NSTAC report

critical infrastructure (ShutterStock image)

Software-defined networking’s ability to separate applications from network devices is one of the more immediate concerns the federal government should address to bolster cybersecurity, according to a report being prepared by an industry group that advises government on emerging technologies.

The National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee is composed of more than 30 senior executives at cybersecurity firms, ISPs, government contractors and other companies. During a March 3 teleconference, John Stratton, a co-chair of NSTAC’s Emerging Technologies Strategic Vision Subcommittee, previewed a report the group is developing for the federal government on how new technologies will impact National Security Emergency Preparedness.

In addition to SDN, the report explores artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, biometrics and blockchain, Stratton said. Recommendations are grouped into three areas: “Things the government can do now, what the government should stop doing and longer-term trends,” he said.

SDN, because it can blur the identity of critical infrastructure assets and possibly open up security gaps, is clearly in the “things to do now” category, Stratton added, because it is already being deployed in the field.

He said the draft report likens SDN’s impact to that of cloud technology on federal systems and critical infrastructure networks.  The Department of Homeland Security, he said, should begin now to plan strategically how SDN could affect critical infrastructure and modify its cybersecurity guidance to accommodate SDN’s impact.

The final report is expected in May.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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