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Do Agencies Need Next Generation Software, Or Are They Just Chasing Diminishing Returns?

Compensating controls can create more risk than they repair


When federal agencies experience a breach, they usually favor various types of compensating controls specifically engineered to mitigate the potential damage of the breach.

These types of controls often result in tool sprawl. They also cause agencies to adopt too many one-off specialized solutions that complicate risk decision-making. And because they are easier to install and manage, compensating controls can become a safety net for federal IT teams.

The best alternative is to deploy baseline controls. These protect information systems and endpoints before a threat occurs. By relying on compensating controls, IT teams won’t know about a breach until it happens, putting federal data and systems at risk.

Fix a breach or prevent it

In a recent Cyber Defense Magazine article, I discuss why agencies should not make compensating security controls their primary defense. Instead, they should implement preventive security measures with baseline controls.

Next-generation software, such as antivirus, is a compensating control created to solve a specific issue, such as filling unprotected gaps in the network left by legacy antivirus software. It also incorporates advanced technology to help agencies detect, respond to, and prevent various cyber threats in real-time.

But is this the long-term solution? Do agencies need more next-generation software, or are they just chasing diminishing returns, especially when alternative baseline solutions are available?

Baseline controls lead to a better way to work

Think of next-generation software like the advancement of cars. We designed the seatbelt, then we created the airbag. But we never got rid of the seatbelt.

Next-generation software is the airbag — and we don’t need more airbags. We need to know which cars aren’t working correctly and take them off the road — quickly.

Agencies need to know where the gaps in their networks are so they can fill them in and be fully protected from threats. To get to this state, agencies need faster and more real-time visibility and control of their endpoints.

Agency IT teams should adopt a holistic risk management approach that uses accurate, real-time data to reduce risk and improve security with baseline controls. A single platform that integrates endpoint management and security unifies teams. And when the data silos get broken down, your teams can work more closely.

To read the full article, Next Generation Software Fills Some Gaps – But Agencies Still Need Accelerated Visibility and Control of Endpoints, visit Cyber Defense Magazine.

Learn more about how Tanium can help agencies protect endpoint devices and agency networks from any location.

Boyd White

Boyd White is a director of technical solutions engineering at Tanium. He began his career with the NSA and has experience in all aspects of information security. He also contributed to the creation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework.

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