Visibility is critical to government IT cybersecurity

    State and local governments face cyber threats that are expanding at an alarming rate. Since last year, cyber attacks against local governments have increased by 70%. These attacks compromise the security of sensitive data and can also cost millions of dollars — at a time when states and cities are facing tight budgets. A ransomware attack on Baltimore, Md., last year is said to have cost at least $18 million.

    It is an unfortunate fact that the cyber threat landscape is evolving and evolving rapidly along with accelerated modernization efforts by state and local governments. As a result, today’s government organizations must know about every user (whether on-premises or remotely), every application, and every third party that interacts with their IT network.

    Recently, authorities emphasized that managed service providers (MSPs) should be added to the growing list of areas where potential network vulnerabilities can lurk to organizations. state and local government agencies. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a joint advisory on cybersecurity in May, warning that “malicious cyber actors continue to target service providers authorized by the Internet.” management, which can significantly increase downstream risks for the businesses and organizations they support.”

    Several state legislatures have taken steps to mitigate network vulnerabilities caused by MSPs. Louisiana is the first state to do so, implementing a law in 2020 requiring MSPs working with the public sector to register with the secretary of state’s office before conducting business and reporting any network problems. any impact on the public sector organization within 24 hours of discovery of the incident .

    While MSPs are not the only area of ​​concern, their vulnerability is evidence that the cyber threats that local and local governments must protect against are increasing. And no matter how well-intentioned laws and policies are to address these threats, the best defense against them is having full visibility across the entire IT network that enhances the ability to identify, prevent, and even predict network-wide vulnerabilities.

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    Identifying vulnerabilities requires a holistic view of the network

    Maintaining effective visibility across the entire IT network and endpoints is critical to enhancing security and establishing a proactive stance against threats. Vulnerabilities cannot be addressed without first determining where they reside.

    DISCOVER: Why state and local agencies need an incident response plan.

    To achieve this, it is important to develop fundamental visibility across the IT network and close any gaps to ensure all endpoints are covered. This is especially relevant as many state and local governments have incorporated remote work into their IT environments and are providing more constituent services online, which has dramatically increased the number of people users and endpoints for monitoring and security.

    This enhanced visibility is also important for working with partners and vendors, including MSPs. While there are standards that need to be established for each organization in any partnership, enhanced visibility can provide state and local governments with additional reassurance by enhancing Increased awareness of potential network vulnerabilities that must be addressed to maintain security across all endpoints. After all, you can’t protect what you can’t see.

    Teamwork helps prevent network intrusion

    Improved visibility enables faster identification of threats and anomalies. Having an organizational structure that supports rapid response to such events is an essential component.

    To optimize deployed visualization tools, it’s important to consider how IT and data teams work together so internal and external processes can be streamlined. One way to empower IT teams is to disrupt data structures and organizations. Many organizations often separate data — and teams — based on work, such as NetOps, DevOps, SecOps, etc., but a single cohesive data store and team is better, not just for capabilities visibility, but also to achieve operational efficiency. Opening lines of communication and collaboration allows teams to view data across the organization, identify problems faster, and make more effective decisions.

    Optimization solutions can also help with this by giving state and local governments better visibility into network and application performance and end-user experience. By monitoring network and application optimization, IT teams can fix problems before things take a hit.

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    Automation can predict cyber attacks through unified visibility

    Once state or local governments have full visibility and have ramped up optimizations to ensure smooth operation, leaders should leverage unified visibility to elevate their status. take their cybersecurity to the next level. Unified visibility relies on visibility to flag anomalies and threats, and provide data analysis and solution recommendations through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

    LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION: Why cybersecurity is a priority for local IT in a changing landscape

    The addition of AI and ML can further streamline IT teams’ workloads by correlating data flows and alerts, and providing useful insights. This automates workflow for the IT team, provides clear directions for fast problem resolution, and frees up time to focus on larger cyber threats and IT challenges.

    State and local governments must be vigilant and continually monitor their extensive IT networks for potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities that could compromise sensitive data or continuity. of network activity. Without visibility, state and local agencies are at greater risk of being hacked. But by leveraging unified visibility and its benefits, state and local governments can successfully pivot from a passive to proactive cybersecurity posture and gain a significant advantage. foretells various types of internal and external threats.

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