Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Network Situational Awareness

Businesses today are tasked with managing hundreds of mainframe computers and ensuring they remain available, secure and at their proper configurations. At the same time the management of personal computers, servers, laptops and smart phones grows even more complex. Organizations are faced with higher maintenance costs and more risk to protect themselves against security threats.

Software is now available that has built-in intelligence that can identify which devices are not in compliance with enterprise policies and recommend security fixes and timely software updates for hundred thousands of machines in seconds. This software automates the most labor-intensive tasks for complex global networks, saving time, labor, and expense.

The Total Network Awareness software offers real-time visibility and control for globally distributed computing devices. It provides a single management platform that gives organizations total network visibility, control and automation across every computing to manage critical applications over the entire systems lifecycle. It identifies operational vulnerability, opportunities for greater energy-efficiency and security compliance.

Here are some of the functions that Total Network Awareness can offer:
1. Distributes and manages a client's anti-virus, anti-malware, end point firewalls and network access control software.
2. Offers a single view of thousands of devices running on the entire network and gets real-time reporting of operational status.
3. Manages power consumption by being able to automatically configure and shutdown devices when inactive. Monitors printing usage to reduce costs.
4. Performs asset discovery, software and license management, deployment of Operating System upgrades and patches.
5. Delivers continuous enforcement of security policies for both desktop and roaming computers, regardless of network connection status
6. Identifies rogue assets that enter the network and take steps to eliminate or otherwise locate them for remediation or removal
7. Inserts security patch management and security updates for major operating systems and common commercially available applications
8. Define and assess client compliance to security configuration baselines
9. Complies with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) certification.

SUMMARY
With over ten million devices connected to the DoD network it is necessary to have a complete visibility of the status of every device. Network Situational Awareness software is now available from a number of vendors, though its functionality and performance varies. The decision how to architect the configuration of management and control of DoD networks will be one the highest priority decisions that will be made because it will set the directions for systems deployment for decades to come.

Because the installation of Network Situational Awareness software calls for a long term investment and requires the deployment of specialized manpower, the ultimate objective for DoD to make such installations in only a small number of redundant Network Control Centers.

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