With Data breaches and insider threats increasing, a vulnerable network can be an ideal entry point that puts sensitive data at risk. As a result, federal IT professionals, like yourself, need to worry not only about keeping people out, but keeping those who are already in from doing damage.

 

But while you can’t completely isolate your network, you can certainly make sure that all access points are secure. To do so, you’ll need to concentrate on three things: devices, traffic, and planning.

 

Checkpoint 1: Monitor embedded and mobile devices

 

Although you may not know everything about what your HVAC or other systems with embedded devices are doing, you still need to do what you can to manage them. This means frequent monitoring and patching, which can be accomplished through network performance monitors and patch management systems. The former can give you detailed insight into fault, performance, security and overall network availability, while the latter can provide automated patching and vulnerability management.

 

According to a recent study by Lookout, mobile devices continue to be extremely prevalent in federal agencies, but an alarming number of them are unsanctioned devices that are being used in ways that could put information at risk. A staggering eighty percent of respondents in a SolarWinds survey believe that mobile devices pose some sort of threat to their agency’s security. But, you can gain control of the situation with user device tracking software, which can identify the devices that are accessing your network, alert you to rogue devices, and track them back to individual users.

 

Checkpoint 2: Keep an eye on network traffic

 

Network traffic analysis and bandwidth monitoring solutions can help you gain the visibility you may currently lack. You can closely monitor bandwidth and traffic patterns to identify any anomalies that can be addressed before they become threats. Bandwidth can be traced back to individual users so you can see who and what might be slowing down your network and you can receive automated alerts to let you know of any red flags that might arise.

 

Checkpoint 3: Have a response plan in place

 

While it’s a downer to say you should always assume the worst, it’s sadly true. There’s a bright side, though! If you assume a breach is going to happen, you’re more likely to be well prepared when it does. If one has happened, you’ll be more likely to find it.

 

This will require developing a process for responding to attacks and identifying breaches. Begin by asking yourself, “given my current state, how quickly would I be able to identify and respond to an attack?” Follow that up with, “what tools do I have in place that will help me prevent and manage a breach?”

 

If you’re uncomfortable with the answers, it’s time to begin thinking through a solid, strategic approach to network security – and start deploying tools that will keep your data from walking out the front door.

 

Find the full article on our partner DLT’s blog, TechnicallySpeaking.