BCP&IT Conference: The New Crisis Management C4I Array Revealed

BCP&IT Conference: The New Crisis Management C4I Array Revealed

Image: IAI

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Image: IAI

The Crisis management computing array, an emergency management facility, is one of Israel’s largest building and C4I projects. The project took several years to complete, and is unique for being operative while still undergoing development.

The project details were revealed today for the first time, during the Business Continuity Conference – IT Technology and Communications, taking place in the IAF Center, Herzliya, Israel, and organized by the iHLS website.

The project is unprecedented in scope and quality of system technologies. 10 engineers and 40 partners collaborated on the building project, costs and sustainability were checked again and again, publishing 15 different building tenders and a precise time-table was established.

A few of the innovations included in the project: The C4I systems were manufactures and field tested at Malam, and only later transferred to the site. A decision was made, in the early design stages, to incorporate the most advanced technologies – even if the equipment wasn’t sufficiently field-tested yet, in order to have the most updated systems available. The site was built by known experts from many fields, and the project crew was fully involved in all operational considerations. Special attention was given to the survivability of the facility and its systems.

Ronen Lago, VP of Business Development at Thetaray, described the cyber threat as a main hurdle to business continuity during emergencies. “The cyber war is already here,” said Lago. “There are hundreds of attacks every day, all year long. They didn’t cause any global damage yet, but the attackers keep the collected data and conduct real attacks. The critical challenge is identifying the hidden spies located inside the systems. They didn’t cause any damage yet, but they collect information, and when the times comes they’ll strike. They can destroy entire organizations. The most secure systems are open to cyber attacks, no one is immune. In 2013 we heard about the red October attack, a virus which targeted half of the world’s computers. In Israel gas facilities and infrastructures were hit. Recently there were attacks in South Africa, Brazil and Morocco. A certain virus spread from Europe to the U.S., where it attacked the networks of leading media giants.”

iHLS – Israel Homeland Security

According to Lago the art of cyber defense is collecting intelligence, and the identification of anomalous activities in the IT system and databases. Cyber attacks damaged even protected organizations. “There’s no way to ensure total immunity. The entire world is vulnerable to attack. New methods of checking databases and detecting anomalies have to be developed.”

Shmuel Lashesko, CEO and owner of Infosight, reviewed the elements which led to various disasters. Some disasters are man-made, such as wars, cyber attacks, nuclear incidents. Some are natural, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, storms. When an incident occurs the first effect is the shutting down of physical infrastructures, followed by limited access to stored information and damage to infrastructures such as power, water, roads and railways. Managing these disasters, in order to maintain business continuity during emergencies, requires three elements: Mobility, autonomy and shared resources. The creation of mobile computing and backup systems, autonomous systems, and sharing resources between partners, such as transferring between different cellular networks in case on of them shuts down.

Lashesko mentioned two specific cases:

  • During 9/11 there was an active operations center in the New York municipality. Information systems worked, but there was no communications and no coordination between various responders. Fire fighters couldn’t stop police officers from going up to the upper floors of the towers.
  • During the Carmel fires fire fighters couldn’t contact Prison Service personnel by radio, and the active Air Force UAV couldn’t warn them to stay away from the forest.

Re’em Hazan from Cal BCP & Data Protection reviewed various methods of consulting and aiding companies interested in business continuity during emergencies. The most important business procedures are singled out, executives are questioned as to critical emergency procedures, priorities are determined, and eventually a decision is made and the most critical elements for the organization’s continuity during emergencies are determined. Drills, even surprise drills, are highly recommended, because in these drills company personnel learn to cope with emergency scenarios and extreme situations.