The Department of Homeland Security, a cabinet-level division of the US federal government, has announced a plan to provide for continuous network monitoring of key agencies under its purview. These agencies are best characterized as civilian in nature and not involved in conducting intelligence operations for the government.
The exact plan selected by DHS involves the deployment of a variety of sensors to the agencies. These sensors will provide continuous monitoring by checking on the configuration settings in networks as well as looking for vulnerability issues. According to a fact sheet provided to the public by DHS, the sensors will generate as many as 80 billion such checks every three days and will work with various sites that form part of the .gov network.
The cause for the new project is the current threat environment, which is characterized by an increasing level of cyber attacks against both government and business targets. The federal government was faced with dealing with more than 100,000 such attacks during 2011 alone. The fact sheet accompanying the new effort at improved IT security through continuous monitoring noted that "decade-old security regulations require manually testing major systems just once every three years. This creates findings that are often out of date before they go to print." Without updated findings, the government will be less than prepared to deal with today's sophisticated attacks, which often involve the injection of advanced viruses as well as stolen data. Such attacks in general also led to large disruptions in workflow for government employees; these in turn had a negative impact on the ability of agencies to carry out their core functions and meet the various needs of citizens relying on them.
In this last respect, even small and medium-sized businesses are quite similar to the vast and complex apparatus known as the federal government. When hacking or other attacks are experienced in private industry, they also tend to disrupt work operations and make it difficult to serve customers in an efficient, effective, and accurate manner. SMBs, like the government, can improve this situation through the implementation of a managed security protocol such as continuous monitoring. This system involves an outsourced IT company, which provides remote monitoring of profiles, settings, configurations, and network activity so that breaches can be minimized or even avoided altogether.
For more information on how outsourcing IT operations can improve your network security, speak with an iCorps representative today.