Is Network Resilience the New Metric for Federal Cybersecurity?

Here at the AFCEA Homeland Security conference, we’re hearing a very different tone on cyber security than in years past.

Federal agencies are starting to think differently about cybersecurity and how to intelligently defend their networks

Network Resilience: That Was Then

A former DHS cybersecurity chief mentions the need for “infrastructures that are defensible” thus moving away from proprietary and large complex networks towards a model defined by the use of field-tested solutions and the cost of maintaining these highly customized legacy networks is enormously expensive.

For years, Federal agencies focused on creating an impermeable exterior network defense, then, conventional wisdom came around to prevention. 

Network Resilience: This Is Now

Today, officials are talking about network resilience as the cornerstone of the Federal cyber security posture. Phyllis Schnuck, a former head of DHS cyber security, said it best. “It’s not about prevention, it’s about resilience. When you are hacked, who’s going to come out on top?”

It’s unnerving that the Federal government would accept that large scale network breaches will happen. Yet here we are with the fact that the growing sophistication and sheer scale of cyber attacks are at a breaking point.

Network Resilience: The New Barometer

Federal IT administrators are using network resilience as the new barometer of effective cyber strategies. We all know that networks will wobble, be it from a natural disaster or malicious intent, but they collapse. If they do, they should be intelligently designed for a large scale and quick disaster recovery.

Network Resilience: Rapid Recovery

Quick disaster recovery allows infiltrated areas of a network to be quickly isolated, tracing malicious activity back to a single client in real time through visibility into your network, giving IT administrators the intelligent tools to mitigate problems quickly and effectively.

Resilience sounds like an unacceptable compromise at first. Isn’t protection of critical information the very basis of any cybersecurity mission? The reality is that there is no 100% solution in cybersecurity.

Threats are already inside our network, and more are bound to follow. The best we can do is pick our networks off the floor, dust them off, make intelligent platform changes, and send them back out there to fight another day.

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