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Northrop Grumman Opens Security Center

Outsourcer will keep tabs on more than 100,000 customers and 10,000 servers in effort to eliminate cyber threats.
Defense contractor and IT outsourcer Northrop Grumman said it opened a new computer security center in suburban Maryland to better protect its 105,000 customers from hackers, identity thieves, espionage agents and other lawbreakers who use the Internet to carry out crimes.

Northrop's Cyber Security Operations Center is staffed around the clock by workers who will remotely monitor 10,000 servers and other digital equipment operated by the company's customers. They'll also keep tabs on Northrop's own internal hardware and software.

"Northrop Grumman has one of private industry's largest and most sophisticated digital infrastructures," said Tim McKnight, VP and chief information security officer for Northrop's Information Systems sector, in a statement.

"The growing sophistication of cyber threats requires that we take assertive and holistic measures to defend our network and protect critical information assets. To respond, Northrop Grumman has integrated the latest cyber security technologies to meet this threat head on" said McKnight.

One high profile Northrop outsourcing customer, the state of Virginia, suffered a breach earlier this year when hackers infiltrated systems maintained by the Virginia Department of Health Professions.

Northrop's new 6,300 square foot security center features a main operations floor, where analysts uses automated tools to monitor and process more than 1.5 billion "cyber events" daily, according to the company.

"Advanced technology is key to defending any network, but it is the experience and curiosity of our analysts that allow us to proactively identify cyber security vulnerabilities," said McKnight.

The center also has a classified conference facility that offers secure connections to Northrop's customer base, which includes the Department of Defense and Fortune 500 companies.

InformationWeek Analytics and DarkReading.com have published an independent analysis of security outsourcing. Download the report here (registration required).

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