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Art of War 2.0: Internet of “Battlespace” Things Demand World-Class Security from Trusted Partners

Donald Rye, Chief Account Technologist (DOD), HPE Federal

June 18, 2019  |  Cyber Security  •  Data Center  •  IT Modernization


Though never envisioned by Sun Tzu in The Art of War, our nation’s enemies are now turning to advanced cyber security threats as one of their latest weapons targeting Internet of “Battlefield” Things (IoBT), defined as nearly everything connected to a network within our military’s defense arsenal. On this front, “choose your partners carefully” is essential for victory amid a new class of spies, originally addressed by the author in Chapter 13, Intelligence and Espionage.

Internet of Battlespace Things creates a host of challenges for the military to identify, monitor and manage. These devices operate on the network edge within submarines, vehicles, ships, weapons systems and nearly everything else associated with war. Enemy infiltration via malware and other attacks can put lives on the line.

Taking advantage of technology at the edge is vital to keeping our warfighters safe and advancing our nations’ defense strategies. The defense community needs to continually monitor and understand the dynamic security landscape as it looks to deploy new technologies. Edge computing and networking should be embraced as a way to stay one step ahead on both the physical and digital battlefield, which Tzu might have included in Chapter 8 (Variations and Adaptability), were his tome written today. Taking advantage of technology at the edge is vital to keeping warfighters safe and advancing our nations’ defense strategies.

Which is why the DoD is already taking these steps and making progress. Agencies now understand the importance of having massive amounts of data readily available, and locally, rather than going to the cloud. In a memo about future technology, the DoD chief information officer stated that the Global Information Grid (GIG) computer infrastructure resources must be brought to the edge.

“Computing infrastructure must support all missions of the department, and provide the edge with effective, on-demand, secure access to shared spaces and information assets across functional, security, national and interagency domains,” the memo says.

All mission-critical IoBT devices create additional attack vectors, which can be compromised to breach and wreak havoc in IT infrastructure systems. And while many commercial devices aren’t secure enough for the DoD, HPE has created purpose-driven technology that not only puts data out at the edge and into the hands of warfighters, but also gives those monitoring the network the ability to see traffic for purposes of detecting compromises and attacks before they do damage.

HPE Gen10 Servers offer the first industry-standard servers to include a silicon root of trust built into the hardware. The silicon root of trust provides a series of trusted handshakes from lowest level firmware to BIOS and software to ensure a known good state.  Since HPE servers are deployed from the edge to the data center to the cloud, there is strong foundation of security.

HPE’s Aruba networking architecture secures the wired and wireless infrastructure with signed code, secure boot and cryptographic hardware protection. User data is protected with strong encryption and per-user level policy, both granting appropriate access and protecting devices from threats.

Aruba’s ClearPass  provides unparalleled visibility into network connectivity and manages devices flowing into and out of the network. IntroSpect utilizes deep pack inspection to feed machine learning models that analyze the behavioral patterns of any device. This essentially creates a fingerprint for the device that alerts security if it is acting out of the ordinary or has access to places on the network that it shouldn’t.  DoD agencies need this level of cyber security defense to confidently leverage edge devices without the constant fear their networks will be breached, thus putting our troops at severe risk on the battlefield.

But the fact is, the DoD can’t do this without the help of industry partners—tech companies who employ teams dedicated to creating the most flexible, accessible and secure networks in the world. These are subject matter experts who can focus on a singular task, rather than having to oversee operations as a whole. They know what it takes to essentially put a data center at the edge and lock it down in even the most tenuous situations.

At HPE, we’ve been providing solutions to these challenges for decades. We’re not just building the tools to deploy and secure systems, we’re also creating the software to enable federal agencies to collect and analyze data so warfighters and support teams can quickly make essential battlefield decisions, one of the five factors Tzu laid out in Chapter 3, Strategic Attack.

Finding a trusted partner isn’t always easy, but HPE and Iron Bow have both the knowledge and experience unique to government clients. Their purpose-built solutions support the collection, analysis and conveyance of intelligence in real-time for agencies supporting our national intelligence and Homeland Security missions. For more information on HPE’s IoT and security solutions, visit the Iron Bow website.

While The Art of War 2.0 is yet to be written, HPE and Iron Bow Technologies are leveraging Tzu’s time-tested principles to help ensure our nation’s fighting forces’ edge infrastructures are operating at their peak potential to achieve victory for each of our military’s defense initiatives.


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