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Image of Guofei Gu 2016.jpgDr. Guofei Gu, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, led a team of researchers from five universities on a collaborative project involving groundbreaking security management that has been awarded a $3 million grant. The grant is jointly presented from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the software company VMware.

This project will make significant contributions to how enterprise, cloud and data-center networks are securely built and managed, which will transform the landscape of cybersecurity.

Many critical systems currently in use are not developed with an initial security consideration. Many times security is added into a system only when a threat is anticipated; this makes it difficult to secure current systems against potential cyberattacks.

This project proposes a new security system, Software-Defined Infrastructure Security OS (S2OS), which encapsulates security capabilities at both the host operating system (OS) and network levels, and will offer an easy to use, programmable security model for protecting applications from cyberthreats. This project aims to break the mold of cybersecurity and find innovative ways to protect the entire infrastructure of a network.

“This project will build the ‘holy grail’ for enterprise, cloud and data-center security management,” Gu said. “Cloud computing is now an essential part of our national cyberinfrastructure and the proposed work will lower the total cost of ownership for clouds, further unlocking economic and environmental benefits, as well as improving the security of today’s clouds.”

The other team members of this project include Dr. Don Porter, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Zhiqiang Lin, associate professor at the University of Texas at Dallas; Dr. Eric Keller, assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder; and Dr. HongXin Hu, assistant professor from Clemson University.

This grant is part of a three-year effort. The goal of the partnership between NSF and VMware is to foster novel, transformative, multidisciplinary research that spans systems, networking and security with the aim of exploring and creating groundbreaking new approaches to security based on the concept of software defined infrastructure.