Seeing Clearly With Network Visibility

Government IT networks are increasingly difficult to manage. Citizens want digital services that are equal to the private sector’s. Cybersecurity risks, meanwhile, are multiplying daily. And the volume of data is growing faster than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic complicated this situation further for federal agencies. Whether they’re civilian or defense, these networks have been under unprecedented strain as most government employees have been working from home.

Network visibility can help agencies see all these challenges clearly and solve them. Using the right tools, agencies can continuously monitor their networks’ performances and security.

Dennis Reilly is Vice President of Federal at Gigamon, a network visibility provider. Reilly shared with GovLoop three tips for better network visualization.

1. Identify the Logjams

As the number of remote workers grows, so does the potential for logjams on agencies’ networks.

But agencies’ networks don’t have to buckle under their loads. Using visibility tools such as those Gigamon provides, agencies can see where traffic jams are happening on their networks in real-time. Subsequently, they can make quicker decisions that keep their networks flowing effortlessly. “It becomes a continuity of operations issue,” Reilly said. “Agencies get the visibility they need to run at a high response rate.”

2. Improve Customer Experience

Arguably, the most important interactions agencies have are with citizens. Consequently, the customer experience (CX) agencies provide must satisfy citizens, or they risk disappointing them.

Network visibility can help agencies by continuously monitoring how their applications and services are performing. Agencies with this awareness are better equipped to solve any CX issues that employees and citizens are encountering. “Visibility is key to having applications run smoothly and stay secure,” Reilly said. “If you can’t spot a network performance bottleneck, you can’t correct it.”

3. Stay Aware of Cybersecurity

As more agencies shift to remote work, cybercriminals and nation-state adversaries have also increased their efforts to attack them. As a result, endless vigilance is critical for defending agencies’ networks.

Network visibility, then, meets two vital needs for agencies. First, it helps them detect and mitigate threats before, during and after attacks. Second, it helps them comply with all relevant cybersecurity regulations. The Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program, for example, aims to reduce cybersecurity risks across the federal civilian government while increasing its overall IT visibility. By following DHS’ guidelines and CDM best practices, agencies can gain stronger cyberdefenses.

Cybersecurity must remain top of mind for agencies because they handle citizens’ sensitive data. Network visibility can assist agencies with protecting this information from any danger. “You want to see an attack as soon as possible to prevent a data compromise,” Reilly said. “If you have been breached, you want to take action as soon as you can to prevent data exfiltration.”

Ultimately, visibility ensures agencies don’t blink on CX, cybersecurity and network performance.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent report, “CIO Perspectives: A New Vision for the Government Workplace.” Download the full report here.

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