Simplifying Government Cybersecurity in an Increasingly Complicated World
Has there ever been a time when state and local government agencies have been under so much pressure for such an extended period of time?
The direct and indirect effects of the pandemic are myriad. Massive relocation of workers from their offices to home environments, drastic drops in tax revenue that create huge holes in budgets, and increased demands for agency services, such as unemployment benefits, are a just a few of the most notable adjustments.
And those issues are on top of ongoing cybersecurity challenges such as:
- The shortage of qualified cybersecurity personnel and agencies’ inability to compete with deep-pocketed corporations.
- Increasingly sophisticated threats.
- A network perimeter that already was expanding before the pandemic thus multiplying endpoints and devices.
- A large complex security environment spread across multiple internal and external data points and clouds that needs to be secured.
- The requirement for agencies to comply with data privacy regulations, which are also evolving.
To cope with these challenges and today’s complex networks, state and local agencies have been spending more than ever on bolted-on security tools and solutions.
What they need is an approach that can weed out the complexities and give them the built-in security protections they deserve.
Cybersecurity Strategy: Aim for Built-in, Automatic, Agile, Tailored and Informed
For just about as long as the internet has been around, there’s been a need for cybersecurity. It has usually been provided through outside tools and add-ons – which is why there has been such a proliferation of choices. No matter what an agency selects, there is always something that still needs to be addressed. And as technology evolves and new tools are added, old ones are almost never taken away.
At CenturyLink, we approach the security challenge a different way, by following the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and building security into the network itself, rather than bolting on tools, to address cyber-attacks and issues as they pop up.
Because we operate and manage one of the most deeply peered networks in the world, we are able to detect threats that others can’t yet see. For even more visibility into cyber threats, we monitor and clean our own network 24/7, and you might be surprised at some of the terrible things we find and eliminate. For example, on average we:
- Discover 3,600,000 million threats daily
- Mitigate 120 DDoS attacks daily
- Block 63 C2s (command and controls) used for malicious campaigns monthly
The technology CenturyLink uses to protect its network also helps protect its customers. Since 2013, CenturyLink has baselined the behavior of our global backbone by ingesting and analyzing billions of data records daily, using this baseline to detect potentially malicious anomalies. Our custom machine learning models ingest over 190 billion NetFlow sessions and some 771 million DNS queries every day. Metadata is then correlated against the 3.6+ million threats on average we track every day, and we alert customers to any potential compromise.
Because of its highly distributed network, CenturyLink efficiently shifts the first line of defense closer to the threat source by modeling threat behaviors, understanding motivations, using attacker techniques as the starting point for research and analysis, and ultimately implementing threat disruption efforts. Our global network acts as a proactive defense platform, blocking malicious activity before it affects the customer’s environment. State and local agencies can get automated updates and alerts tailored to their specific needs that generate the actionable intelligence they need to take the appropriate measures.
Building Around Best Practices
I know the term best practices has been overused, but that’s because it’s so relevant. We start by incorporating the common language of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework when consulting with state and local agencies on building cybersecurity solutions:
- Identify, understanding your IT vulnerabilities is essential.
- Protect, wider visibility leads to greater success in defending against cyberattacks.
- Detect, because the more threats are seen, the more they are stopped.
- Recovery, which should be smart and automatic.
- Respond, as in, CenturyLink responds so our customers can focus on their missions.
And while agencies need to develop unique strategies to ensure that their environments are protected, the NIST framework provides guidance for the elements that should be addressed when building a cybersecurity strategy.
CenturyLink Can Help
We have a long history of building collaborative relationships with state and local agencies that are looking to improve their cybersecurity. Whether it’s a turnkey, managed services solution or an agency-specific need, we want to work with you to help develop a strategy to protect your IT environment.
Watch our panel discussion Ensuring Security for Virtual & Physical Networks to learn more about how we are working with other state and local agencies.
Learn more about how CenturyLink can help your organization.
This content is provided for informational purposes only and may require additional research and substantiation by the end user. In addition, the information is provided “as is” without any warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. Use of this information is at the end user’s own risk. CenturyLink does not warrant that the information will meet the end user’s requirements or that the implementation or usage of this information will result in the desired outcome of the end user. This document represents CenturyLink’s products and offerings as of the date of issue. Services not available everywhere. Business customers only. CenturyLink may change or cancel products and services or substitute similar products and services at its sole discretion without notice. ©2020 CenturyLink. All Rights Reserved.