Pentagon seeks better computer encryption

Improved encryption technology can sustain secure communications without degrading network performance.

The Pentagon is exploring technologies designed to decrease hardware requirements and improve computer encryption to better secure networks without compromising speed and performance.

Virginia-based Brocade Federal is among a group of vendors offering to improve computer network security and performance as a means of fortifying hardware infrastructure for information systems, data and communications networks.

“When you look at information and use an encryption key to un-mangle it, that takes time and computing power which can bring down the performance of the network," Brocade's Judson Walker told Defense Systems in an interview. His firm, he added, "has created the ability to do that function without losing the performance through the decryption process.”

DOD officials declined to comment on specific vendors working on encryption and cyber security,  but they did tell Defense Systems the department consistent works to advance this kind of technology.

“The DOD is always interested in innovative technological advances,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. James B. Brindle said. "The DOD actively works with industry to provide the most efficient and advanced cyber security solutions."

As a networking vendor, Brocade develops software and hardware products designed to facilitate IT connections within and between government networks and installation data centers. Walker, who is Brocade's director of systems engineering, said that need to both enable and secure connections is driving the push for more efficient encryption technologies.

Drawing from a common set of IP protocols and standards, Brocade works to engineer secure, autonomous networks and interconnected networks designed to maximize efficiency. Common standards enable both self-contained or separate networks as well as integrated network connections linking IT hubs and databases to one another.

Brocade also uses virtualization to maximize connectivity with the fewest number of physical servers needed. The idea, Walker explained, is to increase automation of network functions and make use of the smallest physical footprint possible.

“The problem IT organizations can have is that for every application, whether it be email or web pages, they typically build a separate server," Walker explained. "Why use only 10 percent of a very powerful single server, when you could take a single server to support many web pages and applications?”