|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.
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 sett...
Dec. 7, 2016 09:15 AM EST Reads: 7,234
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.
Dec. 7, 2016 08:30 AM EST Reads: 1,856
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 7, 2016 08:15 AM EST Reads: 480
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
Dec. 7, 2016 08:00 AM EST Reads: 423
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Dec. 7, 2016 07:45 AM EST Reads: 809
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 7, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 820
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Dec. 7, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,997
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 7, 2016 05:15 AM EST Reads: 1,062
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
Dec. 7, 2016 02:00 AM EST Reads: 644
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Dec. 7, 2016 01:45 AM EST Reads: 6,167
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 7, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 1,618
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Dec. 7, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 1,248
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Dec. 7, 2016 12:15 AM EST Reads: 1,379
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 7, 2016 12:15 AM EST Reads: 1,036
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 7, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 1,281
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 6, 2016 11:45 PM EST Reads: 759
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 6, 2016 10:15 PM EST Reads: 1,164
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
Dec. 6, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 367
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Dec. 6, 2016 08:45 PM EST Reads: 1,090
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 6, 2016 06:45 PM EST Reads: 2,164