For Government Agencies: Improved Cyber Hygiene will Help, but without Change the Problem will Remain

The recent Binding Operational Directive issued through CISA, which requires federal agencies to immediately patch hundreds of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, affirms the Biden administration’s prioritization on securing the Federal Government.  Improved cyber hygiene is critical to protect against malicious adversaries seeking to infiltrate Government systems and compromise data.

Earlier this year, the bi-partisan Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs issued a report entitled, “Federal Cybersecurity: America’s Data Still at Risk.” This report outlined the challenge the government has with tech debt and highlighted that seven of the eight agencies audited had used applications and unsupported vendor technologies. This means they neglected to implement basic cybersecurity standards necessary to protect America’s sensitive data. Although cybersecurity spending by Federal agencies has increased significantly over the past 10 years, securing critical information and protecting employees against adversaries hasn’t gotten better. As adversaries are constantly evolving their tools and techniques to target victims, most would agree that the new, hybrid Government workforce presents an additional set of challenges.

The proliferation of telework and the complexities associated with legacy Government networks, in conjunction with the shortage of cybersecurity professionals to perform critical services, shines a bright light on the need for the Federal Government to modernize their existing network security architectures and leverage cloud-native services for today’s network security functions.

The challenge for many is knowing where to start. To securely connect today’s hybrid Federal employee and alleviate the burden on an already taxed cyber workforce, Government agencies should adapt their network and security plans and focus their digital transformation efforts on moving to a SASE cloud platform.

Moving to a SASE cloud platform enables agencies to begin to implement a zero trust model, as required by the Biden administration.

When looking for a SASE cloud platform, agencies should prioritize what network and security capabilities they require to strengthen their cybersecurity posture and understand the impact their near-term decisions will have on their longer-term goals. Implementing the correct SASE cloud solution, one that provides native IPv6 support throughout the entire platform, for example, is critical for the Federal Government to achieve their zero trust goals.

Some Agencies will also start deploying Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), replacing their VPN as a first step. Having ZTNA as an integrated security microservice within a SASE cloud platform — and not as a standalone product — will help simplify and streamline the end state architecture. The insight into the expected end state, not only from a technology perspective, but doctrine, people, and process, will allow Agencies to achieve the expected outcomes they’re looking to accomplish through modernization:  increased security, reduced cost & complexity, improved performance, and ability to deliver mission and assured compliance.

Built on a containerized cloud architecture that utilizes the zero trust principles for secure connectivity outlined in NIST S.P. 800-207, the iboss Cloud Platform delivers capabilities such as Zero Trust Network Access, Secure Web Gateway, malware defense, Remote Browser Isolation, Cloud Access Security Broker and data loss prevention to all connections via the cloud, instantaneously and at scale. Containerization allows iboss to enable agencies to give users secure access to applications from anywhere, all while maintaining a completely isolated and controlled network data path. In addition, the unique architecture allows for natural hybrid-cloud deployments where proxy and firewall security capabilities can be delivered within the government network providing global policy enforcement throughout the enterprise.

Learn how iboss offers fast and secure connectivity from anywhere for Government agencies.


Blog post authored by Craig Mueller, VP of Federal at iboss.