New technologies have transformed our lives and brought new advances in productivity and connectivity, yet they present a consistent challenge for security professionals in government agencies. In a world of constantly evolving threats, the rapid adoption of cloud technologies, the Internet of Things and DevOps has created potentially unknown vulnerabilities.
While it’s fortunate that an entire industry has risen to meet the challenge, no single company can specialize in every area of security. All-in-one solutions to cyber threats simply don’t exist. Instead, agency leaders are best served by approaching security with a mindset that prioritizes risk-management and adaptive response.
Network Insiders and Outsiders
There is no end-all solution to cybersecurity, but agencies can take steps to reduce their overall risk. It starts by getting a clear view of who is already on the agency’s network. That means auditing in-house employees, contractors, systems integrators and resellers, all of whom interact with agency networks and data to differing degrees. Each of these groups should undergo vetting that leads to different levels of access.
Meanwhile, outsiders are attempting to become insiders on the network. Privileged accounts and administrative accounts, or credentials that show who is who on the network, can become weapons in the wrong hands, allowing hackers to impersonate legitimate personnel and access their files.
Strong policies around access and enforcement can help lower the risk from insider and outsider threats.
Use Identity Management & Permissions
Many employees have completely legitimate reasons for accessing high-value and confidential files. The best cybersecurity solutions recognize that different people at agencies have different jobs and therefore different needs in terms of access.
At the same time, insiders with more access than necessary create additional, unnecessary risk. With identity management tools, agencies can provide the minimum permissions necessary for employees to do their jobs. By limiting access to the network, agencies shrink the potential attack surfaces by individual account.
For instance, let’s say an agency operates Windows and Linux servers. A data scientist at the agency needs access to the Windows servers to perform her job. She doesn’t need to access Linux servers. Identity management tools will restrict her access to Linux servers, while also logging her actions within the Windows servers.
By managing individual identities, the security team can see when someone accesses or manipulates files inside or outside their area of operations. If an employee does need to additional access sensitive information, identify management solutions allow other accounts to review the request, then authorize or block access to that data, and thereby building a line of defense against breaches.
Look for Solutions that Pair Well Together
The number of vulnerabilities in an agency’s IT infrastructure will only keep growing. No one solution can possibly address every emerging attack surfaces on top of known threats. Still, agencies already know what happens when solutions to different problems don’t pair well together. Increases in the number and variability of different platforms pose their own risks.
The best cybersecurity tools of today and the future are the ones that can be readily implemented with other solutions. So if one applications focuses on device management, another can focus on identity management. Working together, they verify devices and users whether they’re on premise or off.
Even as attack surfaces expand, the end goal is the same as always: Prevent bad actors, inside and out, from compromising privileged accounts to gain access to sensitive data. CyberArk is ranked number one in privileged access security. Their unique products include key features, such as securing and managing passwords for applications, scripts, configuration files and other non-human users. They are able to centrally manage privileged account identities in a single location and prevent unauthorized access to critical systems. They discover and vault credentials while enforcing policy on who can access what.
For more on how to implement and enforce role-based access controls as a way to protect data, infrastructure and assets across an enterprise, visit www.cyberark.com.