Industry Perspectives

Visibility, Compliance and Enforcement: A New Way to Take Control

Federal agencies are increasingly shifting workloads to the cloud to take advantage of cost efficiencies and agility, leaving them in a hybrid and multi-cloud environment.

No matter where federal agencies are on this cloud journey, we’re seeing that these complex IT environments are causing challenges for security teams. For example, they’re struggling to gain real-time, continuous visibility across their cloud infrastructure. Sometimes they have to stitch together multiple views and monitoring capabilities to understand their security posture. In addition to extra work, this can lead to delayed detection of critical vulnerabilities and threats.

Another obstacle in this new cloud landscape is achieving continuous compliance. Security teams are often manually configuring systems to meet a wide range of regulations. Considering how quickly compliance mandates are updated and the volume of applications that must be checked, these tasks can become overwhelming.  

And then there’s the governance challenge. Enforcing policies and standards across a mixed IT infrastructure can be daunting. We’re also still seeing misconceptions around the shared responsibility model. Although cloud services providers do secure their infrastructure, they are not responsible for securing all the data and apps that agencies migrate there. That means that the data, objects and apps inside the cloud are the organization’s responsibility, not the service provider.

The governance issue becomes even more complicated with dark or shadow IT, where individual departments spin up their own cloud services without IT’s knowledge. This outcome is frequently referred to as cloud sprawl. Complicating matters, once these workloads are discovered, security teams must audit them to then enforce provisioned controls. 

Combined, the challenges around visibility, compliance and enforcement make it difficult for CISOs and their security teams to enforce security at the data level—consistently and comprehensively.

Yet, they already have their hands full with the sudden expansion of the remote workforce. Meanwhile, they’re also trying to prepare for the Trusted Internet Connections 3.0 initiative, which seeks to enhance cyber security across the Federal government.

What’s Needed

Agencies must simplify security in this complex landscape. That’s where providers that incorporate automation, machine learning and self-service capabilities into their solutions can help. A foundational solution offers assurances of compliance and enforcement by providing a framework for visibility across cloud environments.

For example, a single-pane view enables Federal agencies to:

  • Establish a visibility framework. This allows organizations to view network traffic, auto-discover cloud assets in public, private and hybrid clouds, and improve threat detection and alerting. Staff could drill down into risk analysis and cloud security analytics to quickly make decisions that improve the agency’s security posture.
  • Provide continuous compliance. Having the visibility framework allows organizations to better achieve compliance assurance. That said, the right platform will take it a step further, using automation and built-in, customizable compliance checks for faster analysis, detection and remediation of risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Automate enforcement. Federal agencies need to streamline compliance guardrails for continuous policy enforcement across their cloud environments. A foundational security solution that uses automation and intelligent microsegmentation will automatically recommend least-privilege policies to protect cloud workloads, while also continually detecting changes and threats.

Federal agencies will continue their push into cloud environments to take advantage of cost efficiencies and the agility cloud offers. FireEye Cloudvisory provides the critical visibility to ensure continuous compliance and enforcement to mitigate and manage cloud risks.

To learn more, join FireEye cloud experts and host Dave Bittner, from the CyberWire, as they discuss how government IT managers can overcome these challenges and pave the way for a successful path forward.