Telecom advisory group wraps up work on best security practices

The Network Reliability and Interoperability Council on Friday completed work on a set of best practices to ensure the security and availability of the nation's communications infrastructure.

During its quarterly meeting, industry working groups chartered by the Federal Communications Commission presented 162 recommendations for steps to be taken by network operators, manufacturers and service providers to help with service restoration in the event of man-made or natural disruptions. The recommendations will be voted on by the entire council by March 28.

In December, more than 300 practices to enhance physical and cybersecurity of networks were approved by NRIC.

NRIC was created as an industry advisory committee in 1992, and received its most recent charter from FCC chairman Michael Powell in January 2002. NRIC VI focuses on homeland security and was charged with coming up with a set of voluntary best practices for network security and survivability. Under the current charter, NRIC for the first time includes representatives from the cable, wireless, satellite and Internet service provider industries, as well as traditional telecom companies and equipment manufacturers.

Approval of recommendations made Friday would complete the first phase of the council's current work. The second phase is education and outreach to encourage use of the best practices.

Best practices approved in December for securing the physical network focus on application of new technology, access controls, personnel, design and construction methods, inventory management, auditing and surveillance, and integrating security in business planning.

Best practices for securing the cybernetwork focus on technology, operations and administration, authentication and virtual access control, incident management, attacks from users.

Practices recommended for adoption Friday focus on restoring service after attacks on or damage to physical or cyber links. Approved practices will be available on the NRIC Website, at www.nric.org.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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