How to Combat Growing Cyber Threats and Secure Federal Remote Work

10.26.2020 | Egon Rinderer, Global Vice President and Federal CTO

As telework continues and cyber threats increase throughout the federal government, agencies are taking steps to modernize their security to support an expanded distributed workforce. The surge in Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) alongside agency-owned and government-managed assets operating outside the enterprise local area network perimeter has created the “perfect storm” for attackers with ransomware attacks in particular seeing a marked increase.

Endpoints expand beyond the perimeter

The rapid growth in the number of endpoint devices outside of the enterprise perimeter and into the uncontrolled context of the outside world has created a surge in soft targets for attackers. In a recent Homeland Security Today article, I discuss why federal IT teams should adapt more advanced cyber defense strategies to reduce the likelihood of ransomware attacks. Agencies that don’t implement solutions or platforms for cyber defense are putting themselves at risk for impact to mission and loss of control of sensitive data.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center suggest agencies conduct regular vulnerability scanning to identify and address vulnerabilities, as well as patch and update software and operating systems to ensure devices are properly configured and security features are enabled. While this is certainly nothing new, it’s noteworthy that it continues to require attention to be called to it.

Visibility reduces risk

Many agency IT teams have long lacked comprehensive visibility into their network and into the variety of endpoints, a problem greatly exacerbated by current conditions. This leaves many vulnerabilities undiscovered and relegates risk assessments to serving as little more than guesswork for IT teams – increasing the likelihood of a breach.

To assess risk in the new teleworking environment, agencies need accurate, real-time data on its systems and endpoints. Risk is not something that can be assessed and reported on periodically any more than one can safely operate a vehicle on public highways by occasionally opening one’s eyes. Risk is an ephemeral thing and must be monitored, assessed and reported in real time with changes reflected as they occur.

Aligned teams close IT gaps

By aligning security and operations teams on Tanium’s unified endpoint management and security platform, agencies can break down the data silos and close the accountability, visibility, and resiliency gaps that exist between teams and demand that solutions perform in a manner that allows ongoing, real-time assessment.

Leveraging a truly unified endpoint management platform gives agencies end-to-end visibility across end-users systems and servers whether local, remote or in the cloud, and the ability to identify otherwise unknown assets, protect systems, detect threats, respond to attacks, and recover at scale.

With the new and maturing levels and types of risk that arise from the current environment, obtaining the quality, fidelity and volume of data needed to make sound risk decisions is imperative.

To read the full article, visit Homeland Security Today. To learn more about how Tanium can help to secure your remote workforce, read Helping Organizations Move To An Enterprise-wide Work-from-Home Policy or see our remote solutions on the Tanium Community Distributed Workforce portal.


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