September 29, 2017

A quick look at the state of IT

Davitt PotterBy Davitt Potter
Sr. Engineering Manager, Cybersecurity
Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions

 

As the federal buying season ends, a quick look at the state of IT seems relevant. There’s quite a bit of activity beyond just finalizing orders and ensuring budgets are aligned. Endpoint software removal timelines, the further advancement of software-defined/software-as-a-whatever, and the inevitable intersection of data analytics and our existing networks have all made for a very interesting outlook.

Abandoning one endpoint vendor

First up, the mandated move off one endpoint vendor. This is a perfect time to make the move to next generation endpoint/next generation AV. As I’ve written about in the past, traditional AV is dead. Behavioral monitoring; process restrictions; advanced endpoints with faster performance; a smaller footprint; and better integration with modern firewalls are some of the benefits of NGAV. While nobody enjoys a forced timeline, the reality is that it doesn’t have to be painful. Deployment of these newer packages is very straight ahead, and Arrow has numerous resources to help.

Carbon Black, Palo Alto Traps, Trend Micro, etc., are all solid players in this space. The move to true endpoint detection and remediation is available. Having the ability to dynamically block, respond and correct is key. Existing IT personnel can deploy and maintain the new platform, while also having a skills path into advanced malware detection, IR and forensics, if the organization so chooses. The current NGAV crop also meets all requirements for deployment in the public sector space.

IAM

Identity continues to be a driver for organizations and their IT staff. Defining what identity IS, however, remains a bit nebulous for some. Internal threats, the proliferation of personal devices, and the reality of constant connectivity is driving the need to know to a much higher degree of certainty WHO that person is, WHAT the devices is, HOW are they using it and to access WHICH data. Internal access restrictions, step-up authentication, location-aware access and constant authentication are all part of that conversation. As I’ve said, security is about being right – the right people with the right access to the right data at the right time from the right devices. Knowing the identity of the people, devices, and even the data make that possible.

IoT and analytics

Ah, IoT and Analytics. The two big buzzwords du jour. What do they really mean? Who’s using analytics in a meaningful way? Of course, we’ve all seen the large case studies or the “halo projects,” but what about in “the real world?” Analytics and IoT are poised to make a real impact into our daily lives. From the battlespace being full of sensors on weapons platforms, body armor, and real-time telemetry on the health of deployed resources, to more mundane things like smart buildings, combining the sheer glut of data with useful analytics will allow organizations to become more effective.

Buildings can automatically “pre-load” HVAC systems based on upcoming meetings by looking at calendars. You can start bringing the A/C systems online when a heat wave is in the forecast. Adjust lighting patterns in large offices based on the location on employee’s access cards and laptops or mobile devices. Tie in access to not only usernames, passwords and tokens, but also physical access where needed. New tools and natural language parsers are allowing us to do new and useful things with the data we’ve collected, and allowing data scientists to discover meaningful relationships in that data.

The velocity of change isn’t slowing down. The need for a comprehensive IT strategy for the agencies we serve and their associated missions means understanding how all these disparate pieces come into play, and what the priorities must be. Having a solid security strategy, with the underpinnings in place, easily maintained and able to scale, will allow you to take those customers to the next step in their missions.

If you would like more information about endpoint security solutions, contact your Arrow representative today.