This interview with Veriflow is part of our series on Emerging Technologies.
At CSRA, we look at tomorrow’s innovation and bring it to our customers today. We do this by partnering with emerging technology companies to match our clients' missions with cutting-edge solutions that provide our customers with the latest in innovation. CSRA’s Emerging Technology Days bring together these companies with program managers and customers to foster relationships and nurture innovation.
Veriflow is one of the next-generation IT companies we will feature at our next Emerging Tech Day. Veriflow’s Continuous Network Verification platform assures network correctness using advanced algorithms and a predictive model of network behavior to prevent network outages and vulnerabilities before they occur. The result is a dramatic improvement in network agility, design, implementation and operation, allowing for rigorous assurance of network resilience and protection.
The Thinking Next blog asked Tim Merritt, Director at Veriflow, about helping government agencies get ahead of network issues:
Thinking Next (TN): Please tell our readers about Veriflow and its solutions. How did the company get started, and what are its solutions capable of delivering?
Tim Merritt (Merritt): Veriflow is the result of innovation based on inquiry and inspiration. While a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois, one of our co-founders, Ahmed Khurshid, asked his professors Brighten Godfrey and Matt Caesar (Veriflow’s other co-founders), “Why can't a proven method like formal verification be used to simplify operations in a network and make it more resilient?” From this simple observation and question sprung forth the Continuous Network Verification (CNV) platform.
Network operations teams leveraging CNV can mathematically model and predict network behavior to identify possible network outages and vulnerabilities—before they take down the network or lead to a security incident. This is done on the backs of advanced algorithms and mathematical verification of the network state. It sounds like science fiction, but it's a scientific fact.
TN: What types of network problems can Veriflow’s solution help government agencies avoid?
Merritt: Government agencies are critical to the operation of our country. Within the digital transformation of our infrastructure, keeping critical network services online and available is imperative to the safety of our nation. Veriflow breaks down the complexity of the modern network allowing NetOps to verify that the network will actually operate as intended.
TN: What network trends and challenges make Veriflow’s solution essential in today’s federal organizations and agencies?
Merritt: Government agencies are not immune to the same challenges that global enterprises are facing every day, but the stakes are higher as failure can lead to a greater loss than just revenue. Current trends in the network, such as automation, SDN, and hybrid cloud deployments add layers of complexity that a network operator must tackle in environments that are becoming increasingly multi-vendor. Veriflow normalizes the network across all environments and into the cloud, to break multi-vendor quirks and allow for unified visibility and control that helps ensure the network stays online and protected.
TN: Veriflow has received grants and funding from the NSF and DoD. Is either of those government organizations utilizing the product? Are other government agencies utilizing Veriflow’s solution?
Merritt: We were able to secure multiple phases of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) seed capital from both DoD and NSF, along with funding from venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates and Menlo Ventures. Those organizations have been instrumental in supporting our R&D and providing access to their network of innovators and industry experts. While that SBIR funding was for R&D and didn’t involve deployments at those agencies, we have since worked with multiple agencies on trials of the product.
TN: DISA performed an early proof-of-concept of Veriflow. Can you share anecdotes and metrics about their implementation? What benefit has Veriflow delivered to DISA?
Merritt: We’ve been interfacing with DISA’s Network Evolution Architect and Agency SDN expert for over a year now throughout the successful pilot deployment. This project resulted in a mathematically accurate and cross-layer analysis of data access, without the need to capture live traffic for DISA. We leveraged our technology to build a predictive model of all possible network behavior, which was then queried to mathematically verify policies, interactively visualize behavior, and perform custom analysis. Veriflow deployed what was called the Cyber Circuit Breaker at DISA in October 2016. The effort can be seen on YouTube under “Proof of Concept for Haywire Capability”, go check it out!
TN: Veriflow is one of the IT solution providers participating in the next CSRA Emerging Tech Day. Why is Veriflow participating in this event, and what benefit is the company looking to receive from participating?
Merritt: Veriflow believes in CSRA’s mission-centric approach. Working together can lead to insightful and useful solutions for joint customers looking to prepare, assess, and verify network activities. We want to be a unified voice and believe the leadership at CSRA is at the forefront of bringing innovation to customers, network designers, and operators to ensure optimal network availability and application performance to support mission-essential functions.
Learn more about CSRA’s Emerging Technology Days and join us for our next event on October 25, 2017, to hear more about Veriflow