Navy shores up legacy nets

Chris Christopher

To prevent data leaks, the Navy is installing security management tools where legacy networks interface with the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet.

'We have a problem with legacy applications, many of which can't move onto NMCI,' said Capt. Chris Christopher, deputy NMCI director for future operations, communications and business initiatives. 'We have to manage the connections with NMCI.'

Contractor EDS Corp. will deploy SecurVantage monitoring tools from Securify Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., under a two-year enterprisewide license. The monitors will ensure that traffic entering the intranet complies with NMCI security policy. They will report on network- and application-level security components such as firewalls, antivirus protection, virtual private networks, routers, and authentication and authorization software.

The SecurVantage suite consists of Studio for policy development, Monitor for evaluating traffic, and Enterprise, which aggregates and analyzes data. The suite also provides information about network topology and policy violations.

'We're going to run Securify on all the legacy networks,' Christopher said. No one yet knows how many places that will be, however. The legacy networks are not centrally managed, and 'in some cases we weren't managing them at all,' he said. 'We don't know yet what we don't know.'

Goodbye to legacy apps

The project is costing $4 million for fiscal 2003 and a total of $5.8 million over two years, Christopher said. 'At the end of that time, our assumption is most of the legacy networks will be gone and we will be operating in the NMCI environment,' he said.

The legacy networks present a security risk for NMCI, but in some cases they provide essential services or applications. Without being able to monitor the interfaces, 'we were essentially in a risk avoidance posture,' Christopher said. 'This will let us into more of a risk management mode. Completely understanding what an application is doing lets you understand what network security to apply to it.'

Administrators at NMCI pilot installations were surprised by the extent of undocumented elements. They discovered scores of unknown servers.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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