Data from the Center for Strategic and International Studies
paints a sobering picture of the modern cybersecurity landscape. The CSIS, which has been compiling data on cyberattacks against government agencies since 2006, found the United States has been far and away the top victim of cyber espionage and cyber warfare
These statistics are behind the Defense Department’s cybersecurity strategy
for component agencies that details on how they can better fortify their networks and protect information.
DoD’s strategy is built on five pillars: building a more lethal force, competing and deterring in cyberspace, strengthening alliances and attracting new partnerships, reforming the department, and cultivating talent.
While aspects of the strategy don’t apply to all agencies, three of the tactics can help all government offices improve the nation’s defenses against malicious threats.
Build a Cyber-Savvy Team
Establishing a top-tier cybersecurity defense should always start with a team of highly trained cyber specialists. There are two ways to do this.
First, agencies can look within and identify individuals who could be retrained as cybersecurity specialists. Prospects may include employees whose current responsibilities feature some form of security analysis and even those whose current roles are outside IT. For example, the CIO Council’s Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy
trains non-IT personnel in the art and science of cybersecurity. Agencies may also explore creating a DevSecOps culture intertwining development, security, and operations teams to ensure application development processes remain secure and free of vulnerabilities.
Second, agencies should place an emphasis on cultivating new and future cybersecurity talent. To attract new talent, agencies can offer potential employees the opportunity for unparalleled cybersecurity skills training, exceptional benefits, and even work with the private sector. The recently established Cybersecurity Talent Initiative
is an excellent example of this strategy in action.
Establish Alliances and Partnerships
The Cybersecurity Talent Initiative reflects the private sector’s willingness to support federal government cybersecurity initiatives and represents an important milestone in agencies’ relationship with corporations. Just recently, several prominent organizations endured what some called the cybersecurity week from hell
when multiple serious vulnerabilities were uncovered. They’ve been through it all, so it makes sense for federal agencies to turn to these companies to learn how to build up their own defenses.
In addition to partnering with private-sector organizations, agencies can protect against threats by sharing information with other departments, which will help bolster everyone’s defenses.
Arm Your Team With the Right Tools
It’s also important to have the right tools to successfully prevent and mitigate cyberattacks. Continuous monitoring solutions, for example, can effectively police government networks and alert managers to potential anomalies and threats. Access rights management tools can ensure only the right people have access to certain types of priority data, while advanced threat monitoring can keep managers apprised of security threats in real-time.
Of course, IT staff will need continuous training and education. A good practice is implementing monthly or at least bi-monthly training covering the latest viruses, social engineering scams, agency security protocols, and more.
The DoD’s five-pillared strategy is a good starting point for reducing the risk of the nation. Agencies can follow its lead by focusing their efforts on cultivating their staff, creating stronger bonds with outside partners, and supporting this solid foundation with the tools and training necessary to win the cybersecurity war.
Find the full article on Government Computer News.