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News

Network Threat Reduction Advice For Federal Agencies

Stonesoft Networks : 22 July, 2010  (Technical Article)
The recently developed US Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act has resulted in Stonesoft offering tips for federal agencies on how to improve network security
Stonesoft has announced several ways federal agencies can immediately improve network security. This announcement comes on the heels of the passing of The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, which urges agencies to focus on continuous monitoring and risk reduction to improve network security.

While much of the attention surrounding this legislation has been on the controversial "kill-switch" rights granted to the presidential office, the legislation also signals a progressive stance on network security. For the past several years, federal agencies have been bogged down with strenuous reporting requirements set forth in the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). The new legislation urges agencies to shift their focus and spending from reporting to risk reduction as well as continuous and more robust network monitoring.

"Right now, complexity is as big of a threat as the latest Botnet or virus. The recent cybersecurity legislation acknowledges this. Agencies that wish to meet the highest level of security must be able to quickly and easily identify and prevent network threats. The only way to do that is to simplify the way agencies monitor and manage their networks," said Jeff Hajek, senior vice president of operations for Stonesoft.

Stonesoft works with more than 60 government agencies across the globe to simplify the monitoring, management and security of their complex networks. Stonesoft suggests the following actions be taken by today's government agencies to ensure fast compliance with the new cybersecurity reforms, as well as to increase network security:

* Centralize monitoring. With a myriad of virtual, physical and different vendor devices across the network, today's government agencies are challenged to effectively monitor network security. Multiple device consoles are often used which impairs network visibility and incident resolution times, as well as increases the risk of human error. Stonesoft recommends agencies deploy centralized device monitoring technologies, such as the StoneGate Management Center, that centralize the monitoring, management and configuration of all network devices - including physical, virtual and third-party devices.

* Deploy federated ID. The number of government agencies using Cloud Computing is on the rise…and so are many new security threats. One of these is inadequate user authentication across the network. In a cloud environment, workers must log into multiple applications and services versus a single desktop login process. This presents a formidable security pitfall, as agencies may lose control over their ability to ensure strong authentication at the user level. To mitigate this risk, organizations need "single sign-on" capabilities - such as those provided by the StoneGate SSL VPN - that enable users to access multiple applications and services within the cloud through a single login.

* Invest in IPS. Intrusion prevention systems have traditionally conducted deep traffic inspection of network traffic behind the network perimeter, after traffic passes through the firewall. With more than 80 percent of all network traffic arriving as web traffic (http/https), the deep inspection capabilities of IPS are now required alongside the firewall to secure the network. Waiting to conduct deep packet inspection after traffic passes into the network may be too late. Today, next generation firewalls - such as the StoneGate NextGen Firewall - combine first generation firewall and advanced IPS inspection capabilities as a powerful first line of defence.
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