Upgrading Cyber-Physical Systems for National Security

Upgrading Cyber-Physical Systems for National Security

Upgrading Cyber-Physical Systems for National Security

A defining feature of the United States in the 21st century is the level of interconnectivity between persons, corporations, and government agencies. From banking to social media, the vast majority of the American people are online.

Using a smartphone it is possible to track weather forecasts collecting data from government-owned satellites, and to check the arrival and departure times of commercial flights using air traffic control networks. This is all possible due to our advanced critical infrastructure and the key systems that control them.

As digital networks came online and grew in popularity, government agencies and the private sector embrace the technology and deploy it into the systems that monitor our critical infrastructure. As the technology advanced, the systems became more capable of physically affecting the critical systems that they monitored. These ‘cyber-physical systems’ automate air traffic controls by monitoring aircraft and coordinating flight paths and rerouting power currents in the event of a disruption. Through digital networks, people can access and control cyber-physical systems from almost any location on the planet. Due to the importance of critical infrastructure, one would assume that companies routinely test and upgrade these cyber-physical systems to keep pace with trends in modern technology and cybersecurity. That is not always the case.

Cyber-physical systems are difficult to update and modernize because critical infrastructure is so important to daily operations in the United States. Service interruptions could prove challenging or even disastrous. This creates a unique security risk where the installed defenses of the cyber-physical systems become more vulnerable as more state and non-state actors pro-actively develop their own cyber-capabilities.

Thankfully, the Government is taking initial steps to develop stronger cyber-physical systems that are capable of operating effectively while transitioning to more secured systems. The National Science Foundation recently granted $9 million to a five-year Foundations of Resilient Cyber-Physical Systems (FORCES) project involving researchers at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Michigan; and the President’s FY15 budget requested over $1.3 Billion for cyber security initiatives. These investments could lead to the development of dual-networks that operate simultaneously, allowing for one system to monitor infrastructure while the other is taken offline to be upgraded. It could also fund extensive firewall systems that encase pre-existing networks, limiting access to an incredible degree.

Regardless of the methods, by advancing its cyber-physical systems, the Government and private sector are securing America’s critical infrastructure and a safer tomorrow.

Contributors

* Arc Aspicio |

Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.

Lynn Ann Casey / Chief Executive Officer
info@arcaspicio.com
703.465.2060

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Design Thinking is on the rise in the business world. Design Thinking leaders focus on creating the best product for their clients and working with the experiences and insight of fellow coworkers. Some of the key characteristics of Design Thinking leaders present themselves in individuals who are open and subject themselves to vulnerability with clients and coworkers. These qualities help leaders to connect and build relationships with others. They also create an open flow of communication that allows for others to better share their knowledge to align with and understand the company's mission.

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

I spent the early years of my career in the United States Navy as a Naval Flight Officer on the E-2C Hawkeye, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Command and Control platform. The various missions of the aircraft demand that aircrew monitor up to ten radio frequencies, and actively speak on three or four of those, at any given moment in flight.

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

Communities are often the foundation for an expedited recovery following major events. But how can communities strengthen their response to, for example, a major cyber-attack or natural event, such as an Electronic Magnetic Pulse solar flare? A United States electrical grid failure could destroy a number of the nation’s high voltage transformers causing widespread outages for several weeks, even months. A public health emergency could quickly ensue particularly among the vulnerable as the ripple effects cause significant societal disruption. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) strategic plan encourages and empowers communities to prepare for the inevitable impacts of future disasters. How can communities prime for major events?

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

I’ll admit it, I was a little smug. After more than 20 years in the consulting business helping clients develop, implement, and integrate their strategies, I thought… “how hard could it be to do the same things for my own company – a company of consultants?” I had the commitment of my leadership, a group of talented people, and a plan and resources to grow the company. We had energy and we had a great process and tools to successful. What could go wrong?

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Federal agencies have been undergoing significant transformation, requiring effective workforce strategies that can assist them in facing increasing challenges. As government leaders look for and implement initiatives to improve performance, Strategic Workforce Planning, (SWP) has become instrumental in assisting organizations to focus on their most important resource: their people

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

Innovation is difficult to harness for organizations of all sizes (Government and private sector alike). Replicating a process to encourage and produce innovation is even more challenging. Innovating in a structured space and time seems counter-intuitive, and begs the question: can thinking outside the box be a structured activity? Arc Aspicio recently held an Innovation Day to answer this question.

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in 2003, undertook the most significant reorganization of federal agencies since the Cold War. It brought together federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies with a focus on securing the U.S. from threats in a collaborative way. DHS pulls together five complex mission areas: preventing terrorism and enhancing security; managing our borders; administering immigration laws; securing cyberspace; and ensuring disaster resilience.