Next-gen networks call for strategic security

A hybrid approach to network modernization can be cost-effective for agencies and deliver real improvements in capacity, availability and security.

Government networks face an environment of escalating risk from cyberattacks, a painful reality in the digital world. Protecting sensitive government and constituent information is unquestionably the most serious challenge agencies face.  

Modernizing networks is one way agencies can address these challenges, but they must be skeptical when evaluating new networking solutions -- particularly when it comes to their security capabilities. Adoption of managed broadband, together with security improvements to existing legacy technologies, offers a hybrid approach to network modernization that is cost-effective and delivers results.  Agencies can achieve increased capacity and availability as well as enhanced security, even with the additional Internet traffic cloud adoption brings to agency networks.

The private sector has already begun the shift to a hybrid network model in order to realize more usable bandwidth, strengthen network capacity, increase availability and enhance security. As the hybrid network standard begins to take root in government, the additional bandwidth can support cloud-based apps, bring-your-own-device initiatives and the Internet of Things, all of which will drive increased network traffic and the number of connected devices up to 20.8 billion by 2020.

As network borders continue to expand with growing numbers of connected devices, today’s government networks simply aren’t equipped to deal with tomorrow’s attacks. Because networks are very flat and open inside the firewall, advanced threats currently abuse internal/external port classification vulnerabilities to gain access to the entire enterprise network. These types of weaknesses, along with rising concerns over insider threats, underscore the need for effective internal access controls and require a shift to a more integrated and layered security strategy.

Deploying a firewall at the perimeter of a network may have been an acceptable baseline protection 10 or 20 years ago, but that is no longer the case. Rather than the traditional ‘outside-in’ firewall approach, the Internal Segmentation Firewall (ISFW) model positions itself at strategic, distributed points to guard key assets in the network, whether they be applications or specific servers. In doing so, this model secures the access layer without restricting traffic visibility. Constant, real-time visibility combined with protection is the only effective method of protecting against an attacker. While legacy firewalls adeptly leverage these capabilities externally, an ISFW protects against a threat that has already gained access to the network.

The ideal enterprise firewall, therefore, will grant awareness and control over both applications and user identity, enabling agencies to more effectively enforce security policies that monitor which users use what applications, and what level of access is permissible to each. Combining this capability with deep packet inspection technology that scans the content of incoming packets for threats -- even those delivered through encrypted connections like HTTPS -- provides a powerful layer of protection for both users and the network itself. Lastly, a modern firewall should have failsafes in place so that even if certain elements of an advanced persistent threat elude packet inspection, suspicious or high-risk objects can be identified and submitted to a safe sandbox where they can be quickly tested for malicious activity and payloads.

These modern firewalls will ideally function as a critical component of a greater strategic security architecture that blankets the infrastructure from the datacenter to the cloud. This comprehensive security fabric should be tightly woven into the various layers of the infrastructure to provide effective controls,  visibility and automation to reduce management complexity, demands on IT resources and the likelihood of a successful attack.

With advanced persistent threats poised to continue assaulting the government enterprise, it is vital that agencies update their networks and network security to incorporate the latest technologies. At the federal level, agencies and their CIOs need to use the new authorities granted to them over the past year by Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act to bring about the next-generation of secure and more efficient federal networks, ensuring that they are acquiring technologies that effectively segment and mitigate internal and external risks.

NEXT STORY: 4 steps to secure data management

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.