By Paul Parker, Chief Technologist, SolarWinds
The U.S. Defense Department’s investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) has created an interesting paradox.
On the one hand, the IoT has helped make ships, planes, tanks, and other weapons systems more lethal and effective.
Unfortunately, it has also increased vulnerabilities within defense networks, creating a greater potential for cyberattacks.
While not all cyber vulnerabilities are a bad thing (we want adversaries to have as many unmitigated flaws as possible), we need to be concerned with our exposure.
(Learn More. Courtesy of Federal News Radio and YouTube. Posted on Nov 14, 2017)
Attack surfaces continue to grow and evolve, with new cyberthreats against the government coming in a regular cadence.
In the last few years alone, the U.S. has publicly witnessed the events of the well-publicized hack of the Democratic National Committee network, harmful intrusions into the Office of Personnel Management, and more.
(Learn More. On the FBI investigating the massive cybersecurity breach at the Office of Personnel Management’s files containing personal information on millions of government employees, including those with high-level security clearances. Courtesy of PBS NewsHour and YouTube. Posted on Jun 5, 2015)
Near-peer threats from other countries have become more prominent over the past few months, and the prospects of malicious or careless insiders continue to loom large.
While the Defense Department cannot and should not curb its investment in connected assets, it must equal its commitment to this approach with a full-throated endorsement of better and more automated security.
The following two-phase approach can help agencies develop more agile and automated security strategies while continuing their ongoing efforts to create more connected armed forces.
Phase One: Accelerate Procurement
Agencies must find a way to move past traditionally glacial procurement processes in favor of more nimble approaches.
As technology rapidly advances, it is vital that agencies are able to promptly acquire new tools to maintain security.
An accelerated technology acquisition strategy will allow them to more easily procure and deploy counter-solutions in response to a continually changing threat landscape.
Fortunately, the government recognizes the need for change.
The General Services Administration Schedule and the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative have made procurement processes easier, faster, and more streamlined.
Many of the solutions available through these contract vehicles are interoperable with other newer and legacy systems, allowing them to fit well within numerous environments.
All have been carefully vetted to work within government regulations and certifications, helping ensure that they are secure enough to run on even the most hardened federal networks.
(Learn More. SolarWinds is revolutionizing the way federal IT manages their operations. We provide our federal customers – including nearly every civilian agency, DoD branch, and intelligence agency – with products that are easy to download, install, evaluate, and buy, while delivering the power to address any IT management problem on any scale. Courtesy of SolarWinds and YouTube)
Phase Two: Automate Security
Government networks have become far too complex for manual security to be effective as a single strategy.
There is simply too much landscape to cover—and too high a risk of human error.
Automated network monitoring is critical to developing a strong approach to security.
Network monitoring tools such as log and event management software let administrators gain real-time intelligence about activity on their networks, and a proper solution will alert staff to suspicious behavior, as well as allow the system to take a predetermined action, limiting or stopping potential threats by blocking IPs, disabling users, or enabling enhanced monitoring to assist administrators in tracing questionable activity back to its source.
Among its many benefits, log and event management software automatically tracks unauthorized use of USB devices, which can be extraordinarily easy gateways for introducing malware to, or extracting data from, the network.
(See how quickly how SolarWinds Log & Event Manager (LEM) can help you keep your network secure, in action! Courtesy of SolarWinds and YouTube)
User device tracking is also critical, especially for federal agencies that have become heavily invested in the IoT.
From phones to drones, user device trackers allow defense agency IT professionals to monitor the locations and users of all the different devices using their networks—a vast web of connectivity that is simply too massive for manual tracking and monitoring.
These tools are vital for proper threat response and mitigation. Scale exposes many otherwise unnoticed deficiencies.
In networks which host thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of users and connected devices, a proper enterprise strategy is key.
A better approach to security
Today, federal administrators must deploy solutions that automatically detect who and what are using the network at all times.
Alerts must be triggered when unauthorized devices access networks. Security professionals can then track those devices directly to their users.
Solutions should easily locate the devices through various means and methods, and provide demonstrable proof of the threat, its activity, and touch points along the way.
Prevention is more about implementing security quickly and automatically than it is about who has the better firewall.
For the Defense Department, which has become so dependent on connected devices and the information they provide, there’s simply no time for that type of old-school thinking.
Federal administrators must act now and invest in automated, agile, and efficient solutions to keep their networks safe from attacks.
About the Author
Paul Parker is Chief Technologist – Federal and National Government, SolarWinds.
Mr. Parker has a proven track record of success providing solutions to the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, Multi-National Government, Civilian Government and Commercial IT Infrastructure organizations.
Mr. Parker has been presented with numerous Military and Civilian awards for service, support, and innovation.
As a proven thought leader, innovator, and strategist, he has a passion for people and technology.
SolarWinds Goes for Trifecta in the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program
- Platinum ‘ASTORS’ Award Winner
- SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager
- Best Network Security Solution
- *Also 2016 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winner
- Platinum ‘ASTORS’ Award Winner
- SolarWinds Log & Event Manager
- Best Security Incident & Event Mgmt (SIEM) Solution
- *Also 2016 ‘ASTORS’ Platinum Award Winner
Over 100 distinguished guests from National, State and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Executives from companies allied to Government, gathered from across North America and the Middle East to be honored from disciplines across the Security Industry in their respective fields which included representatives from:
- The Department of Homeland Security
- The Department of Justice
- The Security Exchange Commission
- State and Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies
- Leaders in Private Security
Recognized for their Innovative Training and Education Programs, Outstanding Product Development Achievements and Exciting New Technologies to address the growing Homeland Security Threats our Nation is facing.
As an ‘ASTORS’ competitor, SolarWinds Log & Event Manager will be competing against the industry’s leading providers of InnovativeBest Security Incident & Event Management Solutions (SIEM).
To Learn More about the ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program, see 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners Honored at ISC East.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards at https://americansecuritytoday.com/ast-awards/.
American Security Today will be holding the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon to honor Nominees, Finalists and Winners at ISC East on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018, in New York City.
Good luck to SolarWinds on becoming a Winner of the 2018 American Security Today’s Homeland Security Awards Program!
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