Government Cybersecurity: What You Need to Know

Published on June 8, 2022  |  Cyberfort Advisors
government cybersecurity

We recently highlighted some of the cybersecurity differentiators across industries, and today we wanted to expand on one of those industries.

Government cybersecurity has unique differentiators. While this should come as no surprise, it’s important to look at what government businesses and entities face in terms of cyber threats, what equipment they have in place to stop those threats, and how to move into the future to ensure the digital integrity of these entities.

Here are some best practices and considerations when it comes to government cybersecurity.

Current & Future Threats to Government Cybersecurity

Just like other industries, government organizations in the United States have seen an uptick in cyberattacks, from local governments all the way up to the federal level. These attacks were carried out with varying degrees of success, but they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

While ransomware has led many of the most recent cyberattacks on both government organizations and civilian businesses and personal accounts and devices, we are seeing subtle shifts in the focus from hackers.

There is continued growth in hackers trying to exploit new technologies and operations being implemented in government systems. The government is often seen as lagging behind general technology adoption, with the recent issues during tax season being addressed this year by the IRS, which has the oldest IT system in government, currently.

Another area of interest in the fight is the increase in attacks targeting operational technology. Operational technology (OT) is the use of hardware and software elements to track and control physical processes, as well as devices and infrastructure. It’s not just networks – attackers are now homing in on people, assets, and information wherever they can find it.

And the third trend in government cybersecurity threats of 2022 centers on AI. Deep fake technology, which uses AI to mimic human activities can increase the effectiveness of social engineering attacks.

With these new and growing threats, it’s time to start thinking about implementing best practices and top-tier cybersecurity solutions to protect your local, regional, and state government organizations.

The Zero Trust Approach

In January 2022, the Office of Management and Budget (OMG) released its intent for moving the U.S. government to a zero trust cybersecurity approach. This approach requires agencies to meet certain outlined security standards and objectives by the end of the Fiscal Year 2024 (September 30, 2024). This zero trust architecture aims to “reinforce the Government’s defenses against increasingly sophisticated and persistent threat campaigns.”

The goals of the zero trust approach include ensuring that:

  • Federal staff are able to access everything they need while remaining fully protected from even the most concentrated and complex attacks all government devices are consistently tracked and monitored
  • Agency systems are isolated from each other, with all network traffic successfully encrypted
  • Extensive internal and external testing of enterprise applications
  • Federal security and data teams work together to develop effective security rules to detect and block unauthorized access to sensitive information

Government Security Is Diverse and Multifaceted

The roles of government organizations are diverse and complex. Some agencies are tasked with such hefty jobs as:

  • Safeguarding critical infrastructure
  • Conducting scientific research
  • Spearheading diplomatic efforts
  • Providing benefits and services to all Americans, from veterans to low-income communities and corporation owners and other crucial public sector functions

And many of these organizations are collaborative in nature – agencies must work together and share resources, data, and technology to ensure there are no disruptions to our infrastructure.

Cyber attacks against government entities aren’t wholly different from attacks against civilian businesses and personal information, but the complexity of government services creates different hurdles.

For example, every local government in a single county of a single state could each be working with different levels of outdated or updated technology. Most businesses have specific operations and technologies, whereas different regions will be faced with diverse challenges. These diverse challenges must be met with comprehensive, analytics-driven solutions that address each organization’s priorities and needs.

The best path forward is for government cybersecurity to be a focus area for employees – teaching best practices, creating effective protocols for access approval and denial – as well as a partnership with the best cybersecurity tools available, like CyberFort’s customizable services.

CyberFort Advisors: Government Cybersecurity Solutions That Work

CyberFort Advisors offers consulting services as well as information technology, regulatory compliance, security, and integration solutions for your government cybersecurity needs.

With CyberFort Black, we offer a fully customizable, automated security solution built for your business operations. Powered by the Cisco Umbrella, you’ll have visibility into every user and device in your government entity, in any location, from anywhere in the world.

We also offer SOC services that include threat and vulnerability assessments, risk assessment, log management, intrusion detection, and firewall management. Government cybersecurity is serious business, and we’re here to help you manage it with scalable services that fit your regulatory and security needs.