In The Boardroom With...

Ms. Amy Fadida
Senior Vice President
Corporate Business Development
VIACK Corporation Thank you for joining us today, Amy. Please give us an overview of your background and a brief company history.

Amy Fadida: I have been working with VIACK Corporation for three years and I have nearly thirty years of sales, marketing, business development and general management experience in the telecommunications and information technology industry, including significant expertise in the Government sector. I am responsible for all external functions that drive corporate growth and revenue generation, including business development, capture strategy, sales, marketing and corporate communications product marketing/development/management, client services, and client growth, development and education. Prior to joining VIACK, I served as Senior Vice President, Business Development at DigitalNet where I was responsible for all business development, sales and marketing activities. Previously, I served as an officer of Perot Systems Government Services as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Sales. Prior to that position, I was a member of the Executive Committee and Senior Vice President for Corporate Development at SOZA & Company, Ltd.—later acquired by Perot Systems—where I was responsible for driving partnerships, alliances and growth strategies. I began my career in the telecommunications industry, holding progressively responsible positions in customer service, technical consulting, sales, marketing and general management at C&P Telephone Company, AT&T and subsequently Lucent Technologies. I successfully founded and have been operating a small consulting firm since 1997, specializing in developing and executing effective growth strategies in the government market. My involvement in the industry includes memberships with the Greater Washington Board of Trade, American Council for Technology's Industry Advisory Council, AFFIRM, AFCEA and the National Defense Industrial Association. I serve on the Board of Directors of the Washington DC Technology Council, Government Electronics and Information Technology Association, and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, where I am also a member of the Executive Committee. I was honored in 1995 with the prestigious Fed100 Award for leadership in the government market.

Here is VIACK’s company history:

VIACK Corporation was founded to provide totally secure, real-time collaboration and communications from the desktop. Its flagship product, VIA3 Assured Collaboration Service, combines high quality video and audio, joint document editing, shared presentations and instant messaging features, combined with the highest levels of security allowed by law. It’s this security, built into VIA3 from the ground up, that differentiates VIA3 from competitors in the conferencing and collaboration space.

The history of VIACK is rooted in the company founder’s conviction that there was a need to harness the power of the Internet as a means to exchange information in real time that provided total security and privacy. In addition, the service needed to be strongly modeled after behavioral characteristics of real meetings so that it would be intuitive and easy to use. Finally, it was identified that high-level service should not be viewed as short-term or overhead-intensive, but as a long-term vision that positively improves customer satisfaction and ultimately, the bottom line.

In pursuit of this idea, founder and CEO Ronald I. Koenig spent nearly two years conducting field research on behavioral aspects of meetings and learning how to leverage state-of-the-art technology to provide a reliable and secure alternative to business travel and face-to-face meetings. During this time, he incorporated the best practices he had learned over his 35-year career in management and engineering in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer environments. The result of this extensive research is VIA3 Assured Collaboration Service, a collaborative tool that leverages a client-server model and mimics the natural progression, conversations and interruptions typical of an in-person meeting. Please give us an overview of VIACK’s secure communications solutions.

Amy Fadida: VIA3 Assured Collaboration Service is the only complete, fully secure, end-to-end encrypted online collaboration and communications solution from the desktop. VIA3 lets users share critical information and hold live, secure meetings over the Internet, regardless of where attendees are located. Everyone can see and hear everyone else, with toll-quality audio and unsurpassed video quality, view and edit documents or images together, and store files in secure virtual workspaces. VIA3 online communication sessions are completely secure—no uninvited parties can look on, listen in, or ever gain access to your sensitive information.

VIA3 delivers live audio, video, instant messaging, joint editing, presentation sharing, application viewing, whiteboarding, and secure virtual workspaces directly from the desktop, over any public or private IP network, whether fixed, mobile or wireless. What are the key markets for VIACK at this time and what are the market drivers?

Amy Fadida: The lessons learned from 9/11 clearly established the need for governments and first responders to share critical information quickly, both internally and across agencies. This—plus personnel in geographically dispersed locations, extraordinarily tight budgets, and telework and e-gov mandates—makes effective and affordable real-time communications a key operational priority. VIACK is focused on serving the needs of those markets in which the critical reliability and security of information and the need to share it privately and securely are essential. This includes the US government markets, both DOD and civilian agencies, state and local governments and the major players in the commercial market that support the critical infrastructures upon which this nation and the world depend.

Keeping private information private is critically important for businesses and absolutely essential for government agencies—especially those involved with homeland security. In the public sphere today, security is the Number One requirement. And in online collaboration systems, VIA3 is Number One in security. It's the only collaboration solution built from the ground up with security as the underlying design principle. With VIA3, you never have to worry about the safety of your sensitive data and communications.

VIA3 accelerates workflow and cuts costs in many different areas: everything from first-responder communications, telework, COOP, and regulatory compliance to online arraignments, and preparation of all manner of documents, reports, and legislation. We understand that VIACK has a key strategic relationship with Verizon – can you tell us about it?

Amy Fadida: As a small business in a very large and competitive market, we recognized the need for VIACK to leverage our unique capabilities in the secure collaboration space through leading service providers in the markets we choose to pursue. When the GSA Networx procurement was in the process of being released, VIACK sought a teaming relationship with Verizon that would prove to be mutually beneficial. Verizon selected VIACK and VIA3 as its provider of collaboration services and support for the GSA Networx bid, and this was the start of what is an expanding relationship with this premier telecommunications and IP service provider. In addition to our support of Verizon’s GSA Networx offerings, we are also serving as a subcontractor on their FTS2001 Bridge Contract, and we are teaming with Verizon on several new opportunities across both the Civilian and DOD markets. We believe that this partnership holds great promise for both of our companies and the markets we serve. Are there one or two success stories you’d like to mention?

Amy Fadida: Within the federal Government, the use of VIA3 by the U.S. Department of Energy has reduced the number of business trips taken and allowed members of their management team to hold impromptu online meetings, without requiring administrative assistance. It has been estimated that just audio and/or web conferencing alone can recoup up to 80% of the cost of travel. VIA3 has enabled DOE to meet the increasing demands of sharing sensitive information among senior level staff member. Using VIA3 presents the necessary levels of interactivity, functionality and facilitates productive conversations, while maintaining adequate security for sensitive information.

At the state Government level, VIA3 was selected by the Justice Court judges in Utah as a cost effective, easy-to-use alternative to video conferencing. Security of all online meeting components – real-time audio, live video, instant messaging and information sharing - was of utmost concern to members of the judicial system. By using VIA3, with security as its foundation, the court system has been able to alleviate security and privacy concerns, reduce transportation costs for prisoners, and reduce travel time for all parties involved in the arraignments. VIA3 is expected to save Utah tax payers approximately $500,000 annually and is funded entirely by fees on criminal cases. The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Homeland Security Conference has become one of the premier events in the Washington, D.C. area to learn about the most current homeland security issues facing our nation. What can you tell us about AFCEA and VIACK’s involvement with this event?

Amy Fadida: VIACK is an AFCEA Corporate member and actively supports AFCEA and its government-industry events and information exchanges. We often serve as corporate sponsors of many of the AFCEA events throughout the year. I have personally been actively involved with AFCEA for many years in my various positions in industry within the government market. I currently serve on the AFCEA Executive Committee, the Board of Directors and on two key committees.

VIACK’s participation in this year’s Homeland Security Conference was in partnership with Verizon Business-Federal. We exhibited our VIA3 Assured Collaboration Service in the Verizon booth, representing their secure collaboration solution.

Note to our readers: We spoke with Susan Zeleniak, Vice President at Verizon Federal and she told us, "VIACK is Verizon’s partner of choice for secure desktop collaboration on both the FTS2001 Bridge contract and GSA Networx. VIA3 offers end-to-end encryption, robust collaboration features and customer-focused service and support that will provide the government invaluable productivity enhancements and the level of service and reliability that the government has come to know and expect from Verizon." Thanks again for joining us. Are there any other subjects you’d like to discuss?

Amy Fadida: I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the future of information sharing as VIACK sees it. To this end, here is an overview of capabilities we are in the process of bringing to market to further meet the needs of our clients.

VIACK Corporation’s “VIA-Policy Based Access Control”

(VIACK Corporation All Rights Reserved)

VIACK Corporation is in the process of creating new software capabilities based upon the concept of processing information with different classifications and categories that would simultaneously permit access by users with different security clearances and deny access to users who lack authorization. VIACK Corporation’s “VIA-Policy Based Access Control” or VIA-PBAC is a system presently designed and under development that could securely manage information at a variety of sensitivity levels over any network through the application of absolute controls for sharing information with authorized entities under any set of predetermined conditions.

VIA-PBAC has two primary goals:

  • Establish controls that prevent users from accessing information at a higher classification than their assigned level of authorization permits;
  • Ensure that the controls prevent unauthorized users from declassifying information.

The integration of Policy Based Access Control with VIACK Corporation’s existing VIA3 architecture would create the capability to enforce controls that prevent authorized users from accessing information at a higher classification or sensitivity level than their authorization permits. These controls also guard and prevent against unauthorized users from obtaining or declassifying information. VIA-PBAC would ensure that data can be consolidated or categorized and shared across multiple security boundaries while continuously maintaining the highest level of information assurance. Information could only be accessed and shared across security boundaries for authorized users belonging to both public and private sectors.

DOD, federal agencies and state and local governments have an urgent need to provide secure, trusted collaboration environments using robust, scalable, standards-based security policies. Policies govern how information is to be shared and viewed. Policies are strategically defined to protect local, cross-jurisdictional, national and international privacy rights of people, government classified data, businesses’ confidential and proprietary information, and to protect against identity theft.

The essential elements of VIA-PBAC are authorization, authentication, confidentiality and accountability:

  • Authentication and authorization: Verify the clearances of all participants in information sharing or collaboration sessions through authentication - who you are dealing with - and authorization - what type and level of information is that individual allowed to view.
  • Confidentiality: Ensure that information shared between the collaborators is in compliance with the policies governing information as to protect the established trust amongst the participants.
  • Accountability: An audit trail to track all activity and provide accountability for the actions by any entity entrusted to share information in collaborative environments. All government agencies must be able to maintain trust with each other by demonstrating that information-sharing is genuine--to avoid potential disputes, policy compliance regarding shared information is backed up with a continuous logging and auditing system so as to expose any potential abuse.

VIACK’s VIA-PBAC software is completely independent of network or enterprise architectural limitations. Most importantly, privacy could be both assured and independently audited to determine compliance with all privacy laws and policies. VIACK’s VIA-PBAC is comprehensive and independent of other variables. These variables would include, but not be limited to, so-called secure networks where data is presumed to be secure simply because it travels over a specific path, and the threat of insider corruption or compromise of information to which they have currently been given access.

Utilizing VIACK Corporation’s VIA-PBAC, once certified, a baseline set of servers and switches would be specified. These devices will be available, “off-the-shelf” components. A baseline “off-the-shelf” desktop and/or laptop computer configuration would likewise be specified.

The most important consideration regarding network infrastructure components and/or network service functionalities to support an ability to collapse multiple networks to allow for true cross-domain solutions is to be able to properly codify data elements according to governing policy and security classification through the use of an XML-like schema. VIACK Corporation would be able to greatly assist its clients and their stakeholders in this endeavor. The codification or “tagging” enables the VIA-PBAC software to utilize the client-tagged discriminators to properly distribute data according to any and all access control guard functionalities as established by the client organization. All dissemination of all data as well as all auditing of every use of such data would be enabled according to these client-originated governance policies and rules.

As stated earlier, all hardware including, but not limited to routers, switches, servers and client computers would require the ability to match storage, throughput, response, bandwidth and processing requirements as established by the client and specified, as a baseline, by VIACK Corporation.

A major opportunity is emerging today for VIACK Corporation’s VIA-PBAC solution. Both private and government entities are extremely concerned with protecting private and sensitive information created at the application level. Today there has been escalation in the growth of privacy protection policies, laws and fraudulent exposure to both private and sensitive public information. Both private and government sectors are seeking solutions to protect information that must be shared but be assured that the information is only exposed to those who have a need to know while continuously auditing those permissions and denials of requests to access that information.

Today in the DOD, federal, state and local agencies, intelligence analysts are assigned multiple computer resources in order to gain access to various levels of sensitive data and resources. The outcome of this business practice is the higher costs in IT resources and IT operating costs to manage those resources. The business case for VIA-PBAC and its secure collaboration environment is the elimination of computers and other resources dedicated to only one information security level. Analysts will be able to have only one PC to gain access to sensitive information and other resources across multiple securely departmentalized domains. VIA-PBAC is the key to the reduction time and thus cost of data transport from one computing system to another in order to achieve the ability to share that data with other organizations. VIA-PBAC with its policy governance of information and resources eliminates these costs by allowing those that administer VIA-PBAC policies to manage the policies rather than the data, therefore making business organizations more efficient.

In VIA-PBAC, multiple policy sets are used to ensure mandated compliance with regulations and continuous transparency to information access events as well the ability to benchmark those policies within the client’s risk assessment programs. A critical success factor to facilitate the sharing of data is to have consistent policies that manage resources, and, more importantly, that can be utilized for audit, compliance and risk assessment against these resources. Network architectures and technological perimeter defenses are never secure enough to detect, much less prevent insider threats.