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NCDOC Speaks at the Generation Cloud Summit

by Rebecca Siders
28 January 2020 Capt. Harold Cole, commanding officer of Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) was a keynote speaker at the Generation Cloud Summit on Jan. 23 in Norfolk, Virginia.

The Generation Cloud Summit is an event in which subject matter experts are invited to speak about real-world use cases that illustrate the role of the Cloud infrastructure as an innovation engine in government. The event takes place in four different cities (Washington D.C., Norfolk, San Antonio, and Denver) with local guest speakers represented at each event.

Cole began his presentation with a video that illustrates NCDOC’s mission of defensive cyberspace operations. He then explained that NCDOC defends more than 200 networks, to include approximately 300,000 unclassified desktops and 60,000 managed network devices.

“The Navy is not as corporate as one would think. We are more like a market with various disparate agencies managing their own networks under a corporate tent,” said Cole. “And so, we are not really set up for a traditional cloud infrastructure; however, our expeditionary nature is definitely ideal for hybrid cloud solutions.”

Cole further discussed the challenges and risks cloud solutions present as the Navy’s cyber security service provider, to include how cloud perimeters are defined, how comfortable the Department of the Defense (DoD) and the Navy is with cloud-based security model, and then some key challenges for proactive defense with cloud solutions.

“The data egress billing model presents challenges for traditional network defense strategies. We cannot afford to wait until we get a bill to find out whether or not the cloud, where we store our data, was hacked,” stated Cole. “Additionally, many of the current security models for cloud are merely reactive, not proactive. We must get beyond that kind of model and be more aggressive when it comes to security and defense.”

“Proactive is an attitude; it’s a culture issue. It’s a way of thinking about the problem. As technology continues to evolve to include more automation, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI), it seems companies will eventually mature to develop more self-healing systems.”

Cole then tied in the human capital in conjunction with ML and AI. “That will be great, but even these systems will still have to be monitored by people. We need to leverage technology smartly. Yes, let’s use automation, ML and AI to help make processes more efficient and streamlined, but not to replace humans,” Cole suggested. “Instead, we can use our human capabilities for their creative thinking, innovation, and tackling issues before they become problems.”

Cole concluded by stating [hybrid] cloud solutions may be the direction the DoD and the Navy are headed. The challenges remain and the importance of building and strengthening partnerships with industry and academia further enable us to better defend proactively the Navy’s data and information.

NCDOC’s mission is to execute defensive cyberspace operations and enable global power projection through proactive network defense and reports operationally to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.
 
 
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