Federal Budgets Challenge Cyber Security

Can we improve our cyber security and reduce our cost to government?  

The title might suggest I haven’t been reading the headlines in recent weeks. The government shutdown, over spending, budget disputes, and sequestration have delayed some of the major cyber programs that are designed to protect us from cyber attacks.  Whether these attacks result in financial fraud, espionage, hactivism, or work disruption they have a cost directly or indirectly on our way of life.  But when you get past our near-term political challenges a fundamental question still remains: Can we protect ourselves from cyber attacks in a cost-effective manner?  And are we spending wisely?  

Here are some elements that need to be in our government cyber security data environment to maximize our investment: 

  • Fundamental design based on open architecture for agility to respond to new threats.
    How many times have you seen a solution that had a specific purpose but didn’t play well with other applications? Probably too often.  It creates an infrastructure that is short lived and restricts you to specific functions.  At NetApp we are deployed in a broad base of government customers across a spectrum of applications from applications that reside at LLNL doing supercomputing to Humvees supporting forward-deployed troops and everything in between. Our data management capabilities can go in a PC based VM for remote cyber collections to the cloud for maximum flexibility. With a flexible and reliable storage and data management platform like NetApp’s FAS and E-Series you can be ready for every possible combination of applications or workloads in a cyber security environment.
  • Shared infrastructure to enhance the speed of the workflow to deliver rapid remediation.
    The cyber environment is demanding because of the variety of workloads. You’re ingesting 10-80 Gb/s of packets and net flow data WHILE you need to analyze the most recent Sourcefire triggered event AND someone else is verifying a strange activity in the SIEM logs. The diverse activities of cyber security create demands on the storage and data management infrastructure.  A shared infrastructure is more efficient and less prone to stranded resources or over procurement.  For some, a shared resource means less security, but for NetApp with our Secure Multi-Tenancy we can isolate the access to specific storage that other tenants cannot see or access. We have to be able to react to a cyber situation by bringing applications and tools up and down quickly, and with NetApp integration to the virtualization infrastructure we can do that quickly and with less resources. The ability to share a copy of the data across a work group allows parallel work efforts and easy enlistment of multiple analyst experts to reduce the time to remediation. With NetApp we can do that with minimal storage resources by reducing duplication in your environment. Agility, speed, security, efficiency, help us to reach our goal to reduce cost and improve cyber security.
  • Resilient environment cyber is always on nondisruptive operations.
    Cyber security can’t be down regardless of what is happening. Just like DHS is still protecting our boarders and the US Military is keeping us safe during the government shutdown these are essential services- think law enforcement for all things on the internet. At NetApp we provide Clustered Data ONTAP that allows you to build in resiliency across whatever application you run. It keeps your cyber security environment running even through the day to day upgrades, patches and maintenance every computing infrastructure requires, which saves time, needless off hour work, and a lot of money from reduced administrators needed to run your cyber environment. This provides risk mitigation to be able to update your environment more often because it is nondisruptive to the production environment. In case of an incident we can isolate active bad data to a particular segmented platform for future analysis and then direct to a restored backup taken with our snap mirroring capabilities. NetApp designed resiliency into the data management and the storage. Add a reliable always-on environment to our list of cost reducers for the government.
  • Can elements of the cyber operation go into the cloud to reduce the cost of our operation?
    The costs are compelling to make this answer YES!  Storing some of that data in the cloud would economically make perfect sense. NetApp is leveraging our capabilities with Clustered Data ONTAP to be the infrastructure for Private Cloud (DHS), Cloud Service Providers (VZN/Terramark) and Hyperscale Cloud Providers (Amazon Web Services) to provide seamless connectivity among clouds. Currently going into one cloud is easy; exiting is another challenge. Think about going to the cloud for some part of your architecture. The data grows, life is good. Now the provider doesn’t give you the SLA you were expecting or the regulation for compliance on that data requires a higher level of security, reporting, access, etc.  Now how are you going to move that larger data set out of Provider A to Provider B?  Think about the level of control and choice you require and plan ahead a little. NetApp provides a universal data platform that will provide dynamic portability which will deliver what everyone wants is choice. But think through the lifecycle of the data and your compliance requirements and look for providers that give you infrastructure that can easily move your data from provider to provider because companies and business relationships may not last as long as your Agency or Department needs to store and manage your data.

So can we improve our cyber security and reduce our cost to government? Absolutely!

Dave Ulepic, Account Executive DHS Cyber, NetApp U.S. Public Sector

In celebration of Cyber Security Month check back for more blogs on cyber during the month of October.