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GovConExecutive Exclusive Interview: Ed Williams of Telos

ed-williamsGovConExecutive:  How do Telos’ secure networks provide built in hardware based security?

Ed Williams:  There are basically four components; one is integrated Wireless Intrusion Protection Systems, which is called WIPS, which is a core component to any and all of our wireless installations.  There is 24/7 security monitoring of the network either by us or by the customer, using typical network monitoring tools.  There is integrated authentication protocols and encryption capabilities which ensure the protection of the information being transmitted.  You’ve got different levels of encryption and different levels of security depending on the type of traffic that is going over the network.  We also provide built in hardware encryption based on the NSA’s standards.

GovConExecutive:  How do Telos’ wireless products cut costs while improving bandwidth?

Ed Williams:  Fundamentally, you don’t have to run high cost cabling.  You don’t have to dig in the ground and do trenching, permits and through buildings and all that.  It also provides some level of portability.  You’ve got reduced cost of labor to do the installation, obviously you’ve got the flexibility of a wireless and our solutions go anywhere from 54 meg all the way up to 100 meg.  We use multiple T1 lines and basically at that point you are sometimes exceeding existing hardwired infrastructure.  We get better bandwidth using wireless out in the field than we do back at the office. 


Some of the stuff we deal in goes beyond fingerprint in multiple biometrics and includes hand geometry, palm carried units, iris and facial capture.  Every agency is doing something to ensure that security is moving beyond passwords. -Ed Williams of Telos


GovConExecutive:  How is Telos going to help increase wireless access to rural areas?

Ed Williams:  Our whole wireless practice started in my words putting wireless networks into environmentally challenging areas.  We started out on the flight lines for the military, and we’ve since done implementations in the desert as part of Iraq and Afghanistan some of the work out there.  We’ve done things out in some of the remote areas, US bases where they have a lot of desert area.  The question would be you don’t want to run cabling all the way out to the other end of the base.  You do it with a wireless network and in a couple of different cases we’ve powered those networks using solar panels.  We’ve actually accomplished both goals.  We reduced the energy consumption using the solar panels to power the networks and we also because of that you don’t even need the electrical lines so all you need really is to say I want a wireless network in this area using solar for the power and using the wireless technology for the com.  We can stand it up.  It certainly can be a self-contained, self-sustained system.  Not everybody’s preference is solar but we’ve done it in some fairly challenging areas in the desert and things like that. 

GovConExecutive:  How do systems like the Automated Message Handling System (AMHS) protect against malicious interception of confidential communications?

Ed Williams:  Our product uses strong encryption for moving data between the AMHS servers, there is secure pocket encryption between our system and the user’s terminal and there is the public key infrastructure (PKI) encryption services built in as well.  The best thing about the system is its strong access controls to ensure internal data confidentiality.  It’s a combination of various things; logging in, auditing and access to the system.  It is also for the intelligence community, specifically DCID 6.3 PL3 accreditation standards.  We tailor our products to what the customer wants but there are multiple layers to security.   In layman’s terms, security is both hardware- and software-driven and data is also monitored remotely.

GovConExecutive:  How do Telos’ ID products help move security standards beyond passwords to secure our national networks?

Ed Williams: Our product is adaptable to any standard or any rule set that a customer would like.  FISMA had become kind of a standard that a lot of customers, particularly the government had adopted, but there are other standards as well and our tool is easily adopted to any of those standards.  We can build in those standards and then evolve them as rules change.  Because of the move on FISMA we using some Telos proprietary mechanisms enabling risk mediation and reporting in whatever format they want based on whatever standards they want.  Our products are agnostic to the standards.

GovConExecutive:  In other words it is outcome-driven not compliance-driven? 

Ed Williams:  What we do is we secure the elemental points so what standards are above that if you will – we can move to any of those standards because we are really dealing on the security posture of this structure, of the network or the system or the organization at its lowest elemental points.  It’s called the ground truth level. 

GovConExecutive:  How can Telos’ products help the government sync their standards with those of the private sector?

Ed Williams:  Like I said, we can tie to any standard.  If a government picks a standard, our product can easily meet it.  In some agencies what they do is they’ll adopt a certain standard as their baseline and then they have certain agency level specific requirements as well so we can build those in.  Our tool doesn’t care what the standards are, so as the government moves away from FISMA and more towards a commercial atmosphere, we’re already doing that.  We’ve already looked at where they are moving.  We stay abreast of where they are headed.  We’re pretty much there the day they announce the requirement. 

GovConExecutive:  What kind of biometric ID products are you all working on right now?

Ed Williams:  We focus on kind of being the glue in the middle so we have a lot of the current products that are available out there for manufacturers.  We have them in here.  We put them in our lab, we test them.  Then we advise our customers as to what is coming and where it’s going and how do you make it all sync up to your current infrastructure or make sure you don’t spend money now if you are going to have to pull stuff out and replace it later.  Some of the stuff we deal in goes beyond fingerprint in multiple biometrics and includes hand geometry, palm carried units, iris and facial capture.  Every agency is doing something to ensure that security is moving beyond passwords.  Since everybody’s moving at a different pace we look at all of the products that are out there and then we make them all work together. 

GovConExecutive:  What is something about you that most people don’t know?

Ed Williams:  I’m a big sports fan and I coach my kids in a variety of different sports.  Right now I’m focused on basketball.  They play lacrosse but I’m a spectator because I don’t know how to play. 

GovConExecutive:  What’s your favorite basketball team?

Ed Williams:  The Wizards.  I went to Maryland and I’m a Terps fan.

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