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5 Things I Learned about Secure Mobility at Aruba’s Federal Symposium

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The Aruba Federal team recently convened a symposium with government and civilian IT experts on the future of mobility and secure connectivity. It was a great day in which leading government thought leaders and agencies came together to exchange perspectives, discuss policy, share network architectures, and build resources for inter-agency support and collaboration.


David Logan, a member of the Aruba's CTO Office, kicked things off with the federal view of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi and mobility innovation, including insight into innovations that will deliver higher capacity through better spectrum usage, next-generation network security, highly resilient and autonomous infrastructure, IoT systems, and intelligent workspaces. Speakers from across military and civilian agencies joined us, including NOAA and DREN.symposium wide view_edited1.jpg



Some common themes echoed throughout the symposium:


  1. Secure mobility is essential for everyday operations and critical missions. It’s no surprise that cybersecurity remains the top concern about wireless, but on the whole, the Federal government is adopting wireless LAN technology on an enterprise scale. Agencies are designing, engineering, and deploying secure mobile infrastructures that allow for wireless services in any location in an enterprise, with centralized management, security, and policy. Secure mobility is helping to reduce cost, increase employee recruitment and retention, and address the productivity needs of an ever-increasing mobile workforce. Even some of the most security-conscious agencies are deploying wireless, and there are many different published government directives, guidelines and policies that authorized and mandate the use of wireless solutions. With the right wireless infrastructure and tools, agencies can meet a broad range of Federal compliance requirements, including DFARS, FIPS, Common Criteria, Risk Management Framework, FISMA and DoDIN.


  1. Secure mobility is easier than you might think. Mobility isn’t as complicated to deploy as some may fear—and it doesn’t take an “army” to run an enterprise-grade wireless network when network operations are centralized.
  1. Sometimes the most common security concerns are not the most obvious. When tackling the multidimensional challenge of security, some speakers recommended focusing heavily on security the access layer, which they believed is even more important than secure policy-based authentication and using intrusion detection and prevention systems, especially given the increase in targeted attacks. There are still concerns about using Wi-Fi in a sensitive compartmentalized information facility (SCIF), but one speaker noted that an often-overlooked aspect is that carrier services using AM and FM radio frequencies can be seen inside SCIFs. However, proper security mechanisms for the Wi-Fi can mitigate the concerns. One speaker humble-bragged that USG’s security practices won’t be beat even by the best quantum computer. If a single crypto/key session is hacked, by the time the attacker attempts to establish the other two tunnels, the session/crypto keys have changed. Problem solved.  
  1. Reliability is everything. As the government workplace goes digital, the constant uptime and availability of wireless networks is critical. Scalability and availability are non-negotiable when the Wi-Fi is used for everyday work, not just as a convenience.
  1. Learning from peers is hugely valuable. The day was about learning from each other. I was pleased with the feedback from our customers.  It was about attendees learning what other agencies were doing, making personal connections, and getting ideas for how to move forward with their wireless initiatives. We look forward to seeing you at our next Federal Symposium!


Dolan Sullivan is Vice President of Federal Sales at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.


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