Enterprise IT Context for the CTO

Bob Gourley

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Seamless Sharing of Information Amongst Enclaves


Everyone lives in their own world, surrounded by familiar systems and processes.  That is their enclave.  Groups of people and systems work in concert with each other using some agreed language and standards to form another level of enclave.  Organizations have their span of operations that form enclaves of enclaves.  Organizations work with other organizations using some agreed approach, forming yet another level of enclave.  Each transition from one level of enclave to another provides opportunities to extend one’s reach, and also challenges with marrying different processes and standards.

An information-sharing enclave is a group of users, organizations, or systems who need to share information, along with the rules and protocols used to make this sharing possible. One example of an information-sharing enclave is a Navy Carrier Strike Group, or CSG. A CSG consists of an aircraft carrier and the ships that support it, such as Guided Missile Cruisers, warships, destroyers, and frigates. All of these vessels need to share information to ensure smooth communication during naval engagements. This enclave in turn, needs to communicate with other enclaves, which could be tactical command centers, other CSGs, etc. Allowing these enclaves to share information internally, but also allowing them to communicate with other enclaves, is imperative to the success of their mission.

Another example of information sharing enclave would be the “International Partners”, which consists of a group of sovereign nations with a joint treaty to share information with each other, and with the United States. Each of these nations has its own set of information sharing enclaves, consisting of their government agencies, military, and intelligence organizations. Each of those sub-enclaves is another enclave, made up of the individuals who belong to those organizations.

It should be fairly obvious that sharing information between all of these enclaves is important. In addition to files, pictures, maps, video, and other data, there are critical communications that must get to their intended recipients, no matter what protocols the sender’s and receiver’s information sharing enclaves use.

There are many challenges to achieving seamless sharing of information amongst enclaves. Each enclave has its own unique set of users and requirements, along with encryption certificates, addressing methods, governance, organization, access rules, and process. These differences can make it extremely difficult to share information among users who belong to different enclaves. AET’s Syndeo Intelligent Gateway can greatly simplify the process of sharing by managing all of these protocols, allowing information to flow smoothly from enclave to enclave, person to person. Syndeo can also ensure that the messages and data are delivered to their destination, so that critical communication can be maintained.

There are three types of enclaves that have their own standard protocols, formats, and security markings. The Intelligence Community is part of the IC-wide enclave, which uses the IC-approved sharing infrastructure called ITS (Information Transport System). Other government enclaves have internal sharing infrastructures of their own, with different protocols than the IC. Then there are the national sovereign enclaves, such as the “International Partners”, which have entirely different information sharing mechanisms. Each enclave has various ways it can receive and share information.

Using Syndeo, this complicated ecosystem of enclaves can seamlessly work together to easily share information. Syndeo serves as the translator between the different enclaves, making it unnecessary for users to know the rules, protocols, and encryption methods needed to move data from one enclave to another. One Syndeo gateway sits on each network and corresponds with sharing hubs to match protocols and allow data to flow. Delivery of information sharing is guaranteed, formats are validated, and encryption rules are followed automatically, as Syndeo encrypts and decrypts information and conforms it to each enclave’s format. Any information can be received and sent in its own environment, and be guaranteed to reach its endpoint in a different environment. As more enclaves are added to the overall sharing ecosystem, no changes are needed in the enclaves; a Syndeo gateway can be added, to actively translate among enclaves.

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com