Achieving Better Network Security in a Hybrid and Resource-Challenged World

There currently exists a global shortage in cybersecurity experts. Not just by a few thousand, or even tens of thousands, but a shortage of some one million experts.

This isn’t good news for agencies, particularly with the rising complexity of hybrid IT infrastructures. Monitoring a hybrid IT environment is tricky; traditional network monitoring tools and strategies fail to provide complete visibility into the entire network, making it difficult to pinpoint the root causes of problems, let alone anticipate those problems before they occur. This can open up security holes to outside attackers and insider threats.

Perpetually resource-challenged federal security teams need complete views of their networks and applications, regardless of whether they are on-site or hosted. Managers must also be able to easily and quickly troubleshoot, identify, and fix issues wherever they reside—in their virtual machines, storage servers, application stacks, or elsewhere. Even better, they should be equipped with systems that can predict when a problem may occur based on past historical data.

To free up their agencies’ limited cyber resources and ensure the security of their networks, managers should explore options that offer three key benefits.

Better visibility. IT managers must manage and track multiple application stacks across their different environments, but this can be nearly impossible with monitoring tools designed to only monitor on-premises IT infrastructures. Therefore, they should consider solutions that track and monitor both on-premises and off-premises network activity.

These solutions must provide a “single pane of glass” view into all network activities, and allow for review of data correlations across application stacks. Seeing different data types side by side can help you identify anomalies and track problems directly to the source. Timelines can be laid on top of this information to correlate the timing of an event to a specific slowdown or outage. This information can be used collectively to quickly remediate issues that could impact security.

Better proactivity. Of course, it’s better to avoid issues altogether. And while predicting the future used to be the stuff of science fiction, it’s now possible, thanks to predictive analytics monitoring.

Predictive analytics allows managers to create networks that effectively “learn” from past incidents and behaviors. Monitoring tools can automatically scan for anomalies that have caused disruptions in the past. When something is detected, managers can receive notifications and directions on how to mitigate the problem before it happens.

In essence, managers go from reacting to network issues to proactively preventing them—a handy strategy to keep networks secure and running without demanding a lot of resources.

Better collaboration. One of the benefits of having a smaller staff is that the network management team can be nimbler, as long as they have the right collaboration tools in place. Individuals must be able to easily share data, charts, and metrics with the rest of the team. This sets up a baseline, helps prevent confusion, and helps bring the team together to tackle problems in a more efficient manner.

Collaboration becomes even more critical when working with hybrid IT environments. Agencies may have one part of the team working on-site, while the other might consist of people working at a cloud provider. Everyone needs to be able to work off the same canvas to address potential security problems.

Better security and hybrid IT environments can coexist, even in a world where cybersecurity experts are at a premium. But government agencies need to make sure that the managers they have on staff are equipped with tools that make bringing these two vital concerns together in a more cohesive, efficient, and effective manner.

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