Users of classified U.S. military or government agency networks will soon be able to use commercial mobile devices on those networks through Aruba Networks' MOVE (Mobile Virtual Enterprise) for Government architecture.
The solution, which was formally announced by the company on Monday, supports Suite B cryptography, which was developed by the National Security Agency to allow for transmission of sensitive government information over commercial communications products.
According to Dave Logan, vice president of government solutions for Aruba, users of these classified networks have traditionally utilized secure mobile communication solutions for specific applications, but there has been a shift recently towards more general purpose mobility within larger portions of the government end-user community.
"We're seeing a significant uptick in the need for iPads, iPhones and Blackberries," Logan explained. "Aruba Networks has developed enabling technology to ensure that these mobile devices, as they are brought into the government workplace, can be attached to the network and users can access network resources in a policy compliant manner."
Providing this support for classified environments is significant, according to Logan, because many government agencies need their workers to be able to access both classified and unclassified networks.
"The challenge that the Army and the other DoD and classified operating agencies have is their existing network paradigms for building classified access networks are unfortunately fairly limiting," Logan said. "They either focus on physical security involving locking up wires and conduits, creating enclaves of users and systems behind facilities called skiffs or they involve the utilization of government sponsored proprietary technology that's expensive and relatively limiting in terms of mobility that doesn't support commercial mobile devices. There is a disconnect between what is actually required and what has been available to them. "
Logan said this issue was addressed by the NSA through its development of Suite B cryptography, which is a set of standards-based algorithms that serve as a foundation for securing both unclassified and classified networks.
Travis Howerton, chief technology officer for the National Nuclear Security Administration, says that Suite B, in conjunction with Aruba's MOVE architecture, will help his agency meet its goal of consolidating networks.
"We have too many networks, too many data centers, too many redundant applications, you name it we've got a lot of things that we've got too many of," he said. "The exciting thing about Suite B for me, and it's very prominent in our planning and road mapping, is that it's going to allow us to build out our next generation mobile infrastructure. We have a great need for the mobile worker in an unclassified environment, but in the classified environment, we need to be able to have wireless as well for things like sensors to be able to take data from an unattended sensor instead of having people in rounds doing it. It could potentially save us tens of millions of dollars."
In addition to MOVE for Government, Aruba has also announced that its' Virtual Intranet Agent (VIA) client solution, which is available with the company's mobility controllers and is used to authenticate mobile devices on a network, would also support Suite B.
According to Logan, the MOVE architecture is currently being tested is several active pilots.
"The real value here is being able to increase the number of personnel that can actually get a connection into the network for their particular mission purpose," Logan explained. "There is a significant number of personnel that have authorization to connect up to the classified systems, but because of the expense and limited mobility characteristics that have existed in the past, these users just fundamentally aren't connected. This is really going to be transformational from a mobility perspective for the government."