When federal agency CIOs discuss the challenges that keep them up at night, there’s no lack of topics to explore. However, there’s one issue that is constantly bubbling to the top. According to Professional Services Council and Grant Thornton’s annual CIO study, cybersecurity is the top concern for federal IT leaders. This is likely to only increase, as 81 percent of CIOs in CIO Magazine’s annual study noted a greater involvement in cybersecurity in the most recent survey than in the past.
While there are new, increasingly advanced cybersecurity solutions constantly introduced, cyber criminals are nimble and have many resources at their disposal. It’s too easy for cyber criminals to stay a step ahead given misaligned incentives. In such an environment, it’s critical that agency approaches to cybersecurity start with a solid baseline that lies within the agency’s network. Just like network performance and reliability, security starts with visibility and automation, and successful efforts cannot exist in silos.
Network visibility can reveal a lot about an agency’s systems, from where the majority of traffic flows originate to the times of most activity. Similarly, network insights are valuable from a security perspective. Just as network visibility can identify when traffic flows require a change in network configuration, they can also point to anomalous traffic patterns that likely indicate a security breach. For example, if an agency typically sees most activity coming from within the United States during normal work hours, an influx of activity from Europe at 2:00 a.m. may be enough to trigger concern.