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Technology for Government Network Security Challenges

How improved visibility across the network can help government technology teams protect citizen data.

Add a layer of defense with packet-level network visibility

Application vulnerabilities top the list of external security threats for both public and private institutions. However, government agencies are prime targets worldwide because of the rich inventory of stored sensitive information and mission-critical systems.

A recent report from Forrester states governments lag in key areas to defend against external attacks that come from application weaknesses, including managing automated internet traffic and application security testing. Forrester's report, The State of Government Application Security, 2020, advises governments to begin aggressively investing in advanced technologies to keep government networks resilient and data secure.

Network and security architects across all industries understand visibility throughout their infrastructure is fundamental to security. Improved network visibility uncovers attacks, reduces risks, and builds resiliency.

To go one step further is to gain visibility at the packet level. Packets are valuable sources of truth and provide an enhanced level of visibility network engineers need to spot and resolve security threats.

In the Network Management Megatrends 2020 Research Summary, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found that "successful network operations teams are more likely (54%) to have a Network Packet Broker (NPB) deployed." Without deep visibility at the packet level, threats can remain hidden.

Governments can improve cybersecurity defenses with complete network visibility from an NPB in many ways:

  • Optimize traffic through Packet Deduplication, Protocol (Header) Stripping, and Packet Slicing
  • Aggregate and filter traffic before sent to analysis tools
  • Deliver the right traffic efficiently to the proper security monitoring tools
  • Gain complete control of your network visibility for real time insights

Improve network visibility to reduce security blind spots and protect data

Network traffic is increasing at warp speed. In the EMA report referenced above, 96% of the respondents expected an increase in network traffic in 2020.

As data rates and network traffic increases in speed and complexity, it becomes harder to identify weaknesses and resolve problems that impact applications and mission-critical systems.

According to EMA in Today's Data Centers Need Visibility That Only a Network Packet Broker Can Provide, "network managers need deep visibility into traffic, especially in modern data centers. Network packet brokers are essential to that visibility."

With an NPB, Government Network operations and security teams can capture, aggregate, and filter traffic in a manner not possible with other technologies, including:

  • Collecting traffic from different sources and sending the traffic to the right tools for securing data
  • Aggregating and filtering data to balance workloads to prevent oversubscription of monitoring tools

Optimize security tools to increase efficiency and protect against failure

Network and security teams monitor applications with diagnostic and forensic tools critical for analysis, and ultimately security. Too often, though, the traditional monitoring tools technology teams rely upon don't work as efficiently in today's high-speed networks.

Government network and security operations teams can use an NPB to optimize and reduce network traffic fed to monitoring tools to increase efficiency.

The result is enabling technology teams the ability to identify external attacks at the source quickly.

Network visibility builds confidence

Governments must utilize modern technologies and best practices to identify malicious threats, build network resiliency, and win the cybersecurity battle. Forrester recommends governments begin embracing technologies to protect applications and secure citizen data, which builds confidence with constituents.

As EMA found in its research, successful network management teams are more likely to deploy a network packet broker. EMA further suggests "packets are a valuable source of network operations data and NPBs are essential to packet-based tools."

Deploy a Network Packet Broker

A network packet broker should produce quality products that offer ease of use, high availability, and scalability aligned to infrastructure needs. But governments should also look for an NPB with experience and knowledge of working with government organizations.

Governments should also look for an NPB with products FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-2 Level 2 Validated. FIPS 140-2 is proof the hardware has been tested and validated according to standards by the appropriate government entity.

Learn more about APCON solutions for Government Networks.

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