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Perspectives The drive for digital success April 2014
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Two of the world’s largest sectors – communications and government/defense – have joined forces as the digital world becomes an ever-more important domain to protect. In the words of the US Department of Defense: “Just like air, land, and sea, cyberspace is a new warfare domain.”
TM Forum is working at the heart of this industry with its Government and Defense Initiative, through which government agencies, their contractors, vendors and integrators collaborate on key industry management issues. Leading this initiative are agencies such as MITRE Corp, NATO C3 Agency, US National Security Agency, DISA (US Defense Information Systems Agency), and UK MOD DSTL.
The work currently taking place in this field is making great progress and resulting in new industry standards and best practice advice. Consequently there is great demand for information, in response to which TM Forum has launched this new yearbook, Securing our connected world, which is packed full of contributions from leading industry figures, journalists, and spokespeople from TM Forum’s agency partners as well as compelling case studies and essential information on a range of security-related themes.
Inside we cover:
David Burton, Chief Technology Officer of NATO’s Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) and from January 1, 2012 TM Forum Board member, explains why Securing our connected world is essential reading for the communications industry.
“At a recent NC3A industry event, General Gaskin (US Marines), Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said: ‘We did not predict September 11, we did not predict the Arab Spring. We are unlikely to predict the next big event in security.’ What does this mean? Well, put simply, we must plan for the unknown.
“There is an unequivocal recognition of the critical importance of technology as differentiator and as a fundamental enabler, no matter what operation we find ourselves in. For technology to be a force multiplier, we have to address the challenges of interoperability and security across multiple domains and network environments. Despite making enormous strides through a standards based approach, still and all too often, NC3A finds itself in a war zone patching solutions because one system will not talk to another. In future operations we can expect a broader spectrum of partners – so the interoperability challenge has just got bigger, probably much bigger. As we look to the next conflict, a key challenge will be around our ability to ‘plug and play’, rather than ‘plug and pray’.
“Today's challenges are not just for the military alone – far from it. Take the crucial role of economic development in the struggle for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, or a potential scenario of a cyber-attack on critical national infrastructure, or a terrorist attack involving a 'dirty bomb’ explosion in a major European city. These events, which are sadly no longer so far from reality, will involve coordination across multiple local, national and international agencies.
“We need to become early adopters rather than always catching up, reacting to our adversaries. To do this we must become more agile, forward leaning, and drastically reduce our procurement cycles; and we must specify the capability we need rather than particular solutions – Industry should do that! Industry must commit to open standards, such as those promoted by TM Forum. We get clear feedback from both NATO and Partner Nations that they will not (and now in many cases cannot) pay twice – once to procure capabilities, another time to make them interoperable. Because of this, those Industry partners that offer solutions that are 'born interoperable' will win more business in the coming years.
“Delivering these improvements will require an investment up-front but the approach can and should be a 'spend to save' measure. Exploiting the recommendations from organizations like TM Forum will be the key to success.”