Defense Department working to automate, virtualize IT networks

Dive Brief:

  • The Department of Defense said it plans to automate and virtualize its information networks in order to improve efficiencies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Maj. Gen. Sarah Zabel, vice director for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), speaking at the Open Networking User Group conference in California, said the department is working to automate tasks like ordering, disaster recovery, intrusion detection and patching software.  

  • The DoD is already testing the concept in areas like service ordering, usage tracking and billing, Zabel said.

Dive Insight:

DISA is responsible for supporting combat operations with information technology. The information networks the agency is moving to virtualize and automate include compute, storage, networking and information security. 

"Anything that can be automated and virtualized needs to be automated and virtualized," said Zabel.

The move would also help the agency improve efficiencies and reduce costs. DISA makes about 22,000 changes to its infrastructure each day, Zabel said, so automation could save substantial costs because changes to servers and switches could be made from remote locations.

A virtualized network could also potentially allow DoD to outmaneuver potential cyberthreats, because they could easily create a new virtual network and move users off a compromised network to a new one.

The potential for security improvements are huge. U.S. federal, state and local government agencies rank lowest in cybersecurity when compared to the private sector, according to a report released in mid-April by security risk benchmarking startup SecurityScorecard.

Filed Under: IT Strategy Infrastructure
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