A peek inside the government’s cyber strategy

By Nick Mirabile, director of cybersecurity

It seems like every month there’s a new high-profile cyberattack wreaking havoc on our networks. Which is why we recently gathered three federal IT leaders to talk about cybersecurity and how they’re safeguarding their agencies in an era of emerging threats.

This panel discussion last month was fascinating, with success stories on what they’re doing to protect networks, as well as the biggest challenges for how to stay ahead of the threats. I picked up on a few themes important for companies selling cybersecurity solutions to agencies:

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Trump has a cybersecurity plan and it needs your help

Lloyd McCoy Jr.blog-eocyberBy Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD manager

We got a sneak peek this week into what the Trump administration is thinking about with its cybersecurity strategy and it appears there won’t be a major departure from previous administrations.

The Washington Post obtained a copy of a draft executive order on strengthening U.S. cybersecurity and capabilities that President Trump was scheduled to sign yesterday, but the event was postponed.

What I was able to glean from the draft is that it reaffirms cybersecurity as a preeminent national interest and its emergence as a new domain, comparable to air, land, sea and space. In order to protect this interest, the order endorses the “full spectrum” of capabilities to defend U.S. cyber interests, suggesting a policy that embraces both cyber-defensive and offensive toolsets.

In line with the previous two administrations, the order also emphasized protecting both public and private critical infrastructure. While none of this is a major departure, there are a couple of provisions in the draft order that impact the IT community.

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Change is coming to the intelligence community

mark-wisinger_65x85ic_013117By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Before President Trump entered office, there was widespread speculation on how he would change the intelligence community. Incoming administrations typically lean on intel agencies to get up to speed on security issues, yet this election cycle featured President Trump’s open criticism of the three letter agencies.

It’s safe to assume there will be a few changes in this space. Much of the tension and debate is beyond the scope of this blog, but I’ll break down two significant changes I’m predicting will shake things up for IT procurement.

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Software defined networking gains government ground

Kevin Shaker_65 x 85SDN is taking shape in government; read immixGroup's blog for more!

By Kevin Shaker, analyst

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is making headway in next-generation government infrastructure, creating opportunities for technology companies that want to target this new growth area.

Much of SDN’s public sector growth has come from increasing demands from Congress to reduce costs while continuing to deliver new and innovative services to a growing and diverse citizen base. Unfortunately, many agencies are still relying on outdated legacy infrastructure.

SDN allows public sector organizations to create multiple virtual networks from a single physical one. While some organizations have already implemented fully-functional software defined networks, others are just beginning to scratch the surface.

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NSA Reorg = Vendor Opportunities

mark-wisinger_65x85By Mark Wisinger, Analyst042116-NSA sign

On February 8, the National Security Agency (NSA) announced its reorganization effort, known as NSA21. Navy Adm. Michael Rogers, NSA’s director, wants to bridge the notable gap between two previously distinct organizations within NSA: Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD). Let’s break down each group and what the change means for industry.

The SIGINT directorate served as the “offensive” organization, focused on intelligence collection through offensive capabilities. Much of NSA’s publicity originates from SIGINT.

The IAD has been focused on purely defensive capabilities and more open in communicating with industry historically. IAD typically uses more COTS software than SIGINT; IAD director Curtis Dukes looks to commercial IT to help bridge gaps and allow his personnel to focus on operational duties. The organization is also much smaller than SIGINT with 3,000 employees versus about 24,000 at SIGINT. IAD’s employees tend to work more closely with industry and are frequently poached by the private sector for their defensive skillsets.

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