|By Vincent M. Schiavo||
|July 6, 2012 10:45 AM EDT||
Government agencies in the United States and around the world are increasing their use of social media to enhance the quality of government services and to encourage more citizen engagement and dialog. When used properly, social media can build trust and develop more efficient communications between government agencies and those looking for information. But, as beneficial as this approach is becoming for government and citizens alike, agencies must also be aware of the multitude of security problems that can be introduced when social media tools are used by government staff.
Personal use of social media by government employees while at work can introduce lost productivity, misuse of network bandwidth, exposure to unmanaged/inappropriate content, malware threats from clicking links and downloading infected content, and most important, the danger of confidential data leakage.
In addition to the many threats to government networks just mentioned, including the threat of confidential data leaks when staff members use social media on government computers, advances in personal mobile technology at work such as smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, and laptops demonstrate an even bigger more fundamental problem: the consumerization of government IT computing.
Use of mainstream public-cloud applications and personal mobile technologies from inside network security perimeters of our government networks represents a brave new world of risks for security administrators. Personal wireless devices are by-definition completely outside the control of IT security professionals, yet in many cases they are becoming approved for business use anyway due to IT budget cuts and social pressures. The fundamental fuel for this "bring your own device" (BYOD) phenomenon is the a growing percentage of employees want to remain active in social media during the work hours, monitor their personal email, and use their own "latest-greatest" personal devices rather than whatever may have been issued or approved by their government employer.
Combined, the use of social media and mobile devices increases the threat level to any government agency's network exponentially. We are seeing hackers writing code directly to attack mobile devices that can easily infiltrate the agency's networks once downloaded. Keyloggers, Trojans and other forms of malware released onto the network can be used to disrupt network operations and steal confidential government data. When logged into social media sites, government employees can post or upload (either accidently or intentionally) confidential information, and once released it can quickly spread or be passed down the line secretly to the wrong eyes.
The arsenal of Firewalls, AV, NAC, IDS, IPS, and other security tools can help mitigate the threat of malware and hacker threats on the network. Unfortunately, as the social media and BYOD culture grows, the new risk of "data leakage" must be addressed with new tools and approaches.
How can government agencies address these new threats?
Best Practice - Acceptable Use Policies
Government agencies should initially establish a thorough acceptable use policy for social media and BYOD for their employees. Depending on positions and responsibilities, employees may obtain different permissions. A well-thought-out use policy will help the agency enforce and secure social media and BYOD use, which also helps protect the agency from legal liability and compliance violations.
Best Practice - Technology and Security Solutions
In addition to policy development, technology solutions must also be deployed to ensure a successful and legally defendable policy. Complimentary technology should be flexible and allow the agency to automate the policy's enforcement. Even if an employee may not be aware of the policies, the software provides an added level of protection. For example, some security software can be used to block access to social media services and mitigate downloads from endpoint devices.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where there is no security silver bullet. But technologies that simultaneously help secure data leaks while also informing the employees in real time that their actions have been blocked because they violate use policies go a long way to create a culture of policy awareness and obedience. These "block and inform" technologies can be powerful tools because they educate staff in the exact moment of policy violation and put them on notice. For employees looking to use their own devices, written policies can limit their use or they can be required to allow security software to be installed by the IT staff.
Social media challenges arise with how to secure certain channels without blocking social media websites and services entirely. The solution requires the ability to differentiate between personal, corporate, public and confidential information in social media exchanges, so it must be data-centric and content-aware. In addition, for employees who are in positions that have legitimate reasons for social communications, this activity, in accordance with the acceptable use policy must not be affected.
Best Practice - Data Leak Prevention
Among the myriad of IT security technologies that are available, one that satisfies this set of requirements is Data Leak Prevention (DLP). A DLP solution used in conjunction with security and risk-management technologies already in place provides a critical layer of complementary protection.
With any technology, requirements for a DLP solution can be different for every agency/office and should be based on the needs, size of deployment, and associated risks. It is well documented that most data leaks originate from the inside or on a government owned machine that has been removed from the network. The added pressure of unmanaged BYOD only multiplies the threat. DLP solutions are able to stop the problem of data loss right at the source - at the workstation and mobile device. This "stop data leaks at the source" strategy offers the broadest DLP coverage precisely because it follows mobile endpoints like employee laptops outside of the network where traditional security solutions such as firewalls and content security gateways typically do not reach.
Government agencies should consider applying DLP technology on laptops and other endpoint devices to help eliminate the threat of data loss while addressing compliance regulations. The combination of a written, well-communicated acceptable use policy for social media and BYOD, coupled with DLP technology that includes pop-up educational warnings when a policy is being violated can reliably prevent data leaks while helping maintain compliance.
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Sep. 27, 2016 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,386
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Sep. 27, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,174
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Sep. 27, 2016 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 478
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Sep. 27, 2016 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,961
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Sep. 27, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,041
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Sep. 27, 2016 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,233
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Sep. 27, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,862
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Sep. 27, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,568
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Sep. 27, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,210
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 27, 2016 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,666
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
Sep. 27, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,036
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
Sep. 27, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 323
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 27, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,773
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
Sep. 27, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,603
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Sep. 27, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,774
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Sep. 27, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,698
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,280
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
Sep. 27, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,720
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Sep. 27, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,605
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Sep. 27, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,669