Mar 21 2016

Addressing the Growing Need for Data Security

Endpoints are among the biggest greatest security vulnerabilities for U.S. government organizations. Endpoints are notebooks, desktop computers, mobile devices, servers and anything connected to the IT system, including medical devices and military sensors.

They have quickly become the primary targets for cybercriminals to infiltrate organizations with malware, social engineering, phishing scams and other insidious methods. In fact, “Endpoint Epidemic,” a recent study from MeriTalk, found that 44 percent of federal government endpoints are unprotected or even unknown. In their ongoing quest for fiscal agility, agency leaders are telling us that they want to address these security risks in ways that are fluid, cloud-ready and, above all, effective and cost-efficient.

The cybersecurity situation is further compounded by the lack of trained experts. U.S. CIO Tony Scott in a November 2015 speech that the federal government has 10,000 openings for cyber professionals. Combine these concerns with the inability to attract and retain qualified security experts in house, and it becomes clear that there’s a very real need for workable security solutions that are accessible and available right now for the public sector.

Enhancing Security and Gaining Flexibility

This is where Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) solutions come in. For example, Avnet Government Solutions (AGS) developed services-based solutions, known as AGS Cyber Protect. These are designed to help independent software vendor, systems integrator and value-added reseller partners enhance the security postures of their government customers. With SECaaS, government organizations are also well positioned to make use of the cloud for new innovations, improving service, bolstering risk management and reducing costs. AGS Cyber Protect features technologies from IBM’s complete security solutions portfolio – including BigFix for endpoint protection, and the QRadar security analytics and Guardium data security platforms, to name a few. What’s more, the AGS Cyber Protect offering can be deployed on premise, in the cloud or via a hybrid approach.

One important aspect of the delivery of these solutions is the age-old discussion about the benefits of capital expenditures versus operational expenditures. With the flexibility provided by these SECaaS solutions, customers are well advised to consult with their finance teams to see if the costs can be serviced as operating expenditures, as they often can be, which speaks to the fiscal agility of AGS Cyber Protect. Another important distinction to note is that this solution delivered “as a service” is unique to Avnet and of great value in helping government agencies meet their goals, as well as in benefiting communities at large.

Seemingly every day, we encounter statistics that compel the need and adoption of these SECaaS solutions, whether it be the average security breach going undetected for 256 days or that 83 percent of enterprises have difficulty finding the security resources they need. We also see plenty of corresponding reasons to align ourselves with proven solutions, such as those provided by IBM Security. IBM is the number one enterprise security vendor in total revenue, is considered a security leader by 25 industry analysts, and IBM Security is employed by 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies.

“Since 2006, cybersecurity breaches have exposed 87 million private records,” according to MeriTalk. “These breaches cost agencies an average of $194 per compromised record. That’s $16.8 billion gone to data thieves.” SECaaS solutions, like AGS Cyber Protect, are positioned to defend our government IT ecosystem against these costly breaches.