By Joe Kim, SolarWinds EVP, Engineering and Global CTO

 

Bring your own application (BYOA), virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and software-defined networking (SDN) may promise great things, but they also expose network vulnerabilities.

 

For military IT professionals, the network is the first line of defense against these threats, but how do you ensure that it sufficiently addresses both current and future security issues?

 

The answer is surprisingly old-fashioned: go back to the basics. A combination of best practices—including automation, network monitoring and more—as well as network simplicity, is key to ensuring a happy, healthy government IT environment.

 

Let’s take a look at these best practices to see just how your IT environment can navigate the minefield of acronyms and escape with your security and wits intact.

 

Network monitoring

By offering a single-pane-of-glass view of users, devices, network devices, and traffic, and using log data to provide real-time event correlation, continuous network monitoring can help government IT professionals improve security and offer peace of mind.

 

Network monitoring can help achieve network stabilization as the environment grows in complexity. Take the growing number of defense agencies that are making the move to a hybrid IT model, for example. While the benefits of hybrid IT are often discussed, it does represent increased complexity.

 

Monitoring tools can help address this complexity, providing vital information about which parts of an environment would benefit from moving off-premises, from both a cost and workflow standpoint. Once these applications are migrated, network monitoring can also monitor and verify their performance, and thus can both simplify the move to hybrid IT and help IT professionals make the most of its benefits.

 

Configuration management

A configuration management solution can be instrumental in the battle against increased complexity. By backing up configurations, IT professionals can roll back changes for fast recovery, monitor configurations, and automatically remediate noncompliance issues.

 

Automate

Automating compliance with patching and configuration tools means IT professionals can locate and help protect against vulnerabilities as efficiently as possible.

 

Do you BYO?

Defense agencies have struggled with adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for some time now, and are all too aware of the security risks these approaches represent. However, it is tricky: off-duty defense professionals need to be able to use internet-enabled devices with fewer restrictions, even if bandwidth isn’t cheap and availability is, at best, patchy.

 

As a result, military organizations need to have a real, considered discussion on how BYO plans can be adopted, bringing in guidelines and tools to help with adoption and enforce restrictions. User device tracking can help to locate and eliminate rogue devices on the network, and guidelines enforced by IT will help users see that a line in the sand has been drawn regarding usage.

 

Forward thinking

There is still work to do to make sure defense agencies aren’t severely impacted by these emerging tech trends. The key to realizing this is preparation.

 

By remaining educated and understanding upcoming trends, tools, and strategies, government IT professionals can ensure they are well-equipped to adapt and thrive in an environment where the next complication is always just around the corner.

 

Find the full article on Defence Contracts Online.