Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, AppNeta Blog, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Mobile IoT, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

Microservices Expo: Article

Social Media Brings New Challenges to Government Security Administrators

The use of social networking sites and BYOD mobile devices at work brings new threats of data leaks to government agencies

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.

Conclusion
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.

More Stories By Vincent M. Schiavo

Vincent M. Schiavo joined DeviceLock as Chief Executive Officer in September 2011. A veteran of the computer industry for more than 30 years, most recently Mr. Schiavo served as the Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales for LogLogic, a San Jose based security information and event management provider. Prior to LogLogic, he was the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Secure Computing, a San Jose based web information security company which was acquired by McAfee in 2008.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, CTO and founder of Striim, will delve into four enterprise-scale, business-critical case studies where streaming analytics serves as the key to enabling real-time data integration and right-time insights in hybrid cloud, IoT, and fog computing environments. As part of this discussion, he will also present a demo based on its partnership with Fujitsu, highlighting their technologies in a healthcare IoT use-case. The demo showcases the tracking of patie...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, will discuss new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of securit...
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.