Federal Insights

Security On The Edge: How Is Your Agency Protecting Data at the Edge?

by walkerj ‎03-21-2017 08:47 AM - edited ‎03-21-2017 09:58 AM (2,225 Views)

It’s no surprise that the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding. IHS predicts that the number of IoT-connected devices will grow to 75.4 billion in 2025. While greater connectivity increases innovation and operational flexibility, these devices raise concerns about network security.

 

In January 2017, the Government Business Council (GBC) surveyed 442 federal employees about the state of their network security and what their agencies are doing to secure the data at the edge. Sixty percent of respondents cited security as the most important performance feature when it comes to the devices and sensors their agency uses to transmit data, ranking above stability, speed and accuracy. Further, 89 percent of those surveyed felt it was very or extremely important that devices operating on the edge, such as IoT-connected devices, were secure from malicious attackers.

 

Despite this agreement, 58 percent of respondents are only somewhat, not very or not at all confident about the security of edge devices. The most commonly cited tactic for securing the edge is also one of the easiest approaches for hackers to work around: stringent password requirements. What is causing these security gaps? Insufficient funding, slow procurement and lack of technical expertise were highlighted as top challenges. However, agencies can take steps to protect their networks from the edge to the core.

 

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IHS reports that the Internet of Things (IoT) will double from around 15 billion devices in 2015 to more than 30 billion devices by 2020. There is no doubt that the federal government is sharing in this growth. Already agencies are using IoT devices, with uses ranging from soldiers gathering data from satellite imagery and other sensors before or during a mission to agencies tracking critical assets such as trucks, construction materials or medicine supplies.

 

These opportunities are only going to increase as government agencies integrate more Internet of Things (IoT) devices into supporting mission outcomes. What many may not realize is that occurring in the background is likely a wireless network that makes data retrieval from these sensors possible. For the federal government to capitalize on the potential of IoT, it needs a network that is scalable, integrates Wi-Fi technology seamlessly with cellular networks and can be easily deployed. These requirements can all be achieved with a few considerations.

 

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It is no surprise that cybersecurity is a growing concern for the federal government. The most recent FISMA report reflects 77,000 successfully executed cyber incidents occurring in 2015, a number that has increased each year. Part of the growing challenge is due to the diverse and ever-expanding number of endpoints and data sources for agencies to secure, especially on government campuses. With this landscape as a backdrop, campus environments require a tailored approach to security and encryption due to their varied department needs and multiple physical locations. Here are traits to look for:

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