Filling Security Gaps with Integration & Automation

How security solutions that work together can better protect your agency

State and local government agencies are attractive targets for cyberattacks. Their IT systems house sensitive data for both the government and the people they serve. Attacks can also be carried out by political opponents, protest groups, and even terrorists who are looking to disrupt and block access to government services. The problem is, many agencies are woefully unprepared to prevent and respond to sophisticated threats. According to a survey from the Public Technology Institute, just 35 percent of local government IT officials said their agencies have a strategic plan for IT security.

Government agencies need to make it a priority to understand what data and assets are held in their IT systems – not just on-premises but in the cloud and on mobile devices. Then they need to perform a thorough risk assessment to determine where security gaps exist, evaluate the risk created by these gaps, and move quickly to address them.

The Value of an Integrated Security Platform

Traditionally, agencies add security point products as they need them, usually from multiple vendors, to stop specific threats or protect specific environments. Over the years, they build up a collection of security tools that can’t communicate with one another and have to be managed separately, which typically leads to blind spots across the network. Today’s blended threats that use different techniques to exploit different vulnerabilities make these blind spots particularly dangerous.

An integrated security platform can close these gaps by enabling various security products to talk to each other through a common architecture and to function as a cohesive solution. When security is integrated across the network, cloud, applications and endpoints, you consistently block more threats, reduce time to detection, and reduce response times from months to hours. An integrated approach also makes it possible to automate more security functions, which saves you time and money and allows IT to focus on higher-value tasks.

What to Look for in an Integrated Solution

While a number of vendors refer to their security platforms as integrated, there seems to be little consensus as to what such a platform should include. From our perspective, an integrated security platform should offer comprehensive coverage across all endpoints, physical and virtual servers, cloud environments, email applications and web services. While prevention is the objective, no security platform is 100 percent effective, so automated incident response functions are critical to remediate threats.

Because security requirements vary from organization to organization, look for a solution that allows you to pick and choose different types of tools and services, both on-premises and cloud-based. Also, you should be able to centrally manage the entire platform, apply policies holistically, and generate reports that integrate data from multiple sources.

Cisco’s Integrated Cybersecurity Platform

Cisco’s integrated cybersecurity portfolio automatically shares information between technologies to reduce time to detection and expedite the remediation process. Even if a malicious file makes it through perimeter defenses, traffic is continuously analyzed so threats can be detected.

Information about malicious files, IP addresses, domains and more is shared across all Cisco products so any other instances can be removed. As threats are investigated, event data from the next-generation firewall, Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints, and other technologies is correlated, and policy information is shared so infected systems can be quarantined.

Every Cisco security product also leverages the power of Cisco Talos threat intelligence. A team of security researchers use sophisticated tools and telemetry data to detect and analyze cyberattacks. This information is shared across the Cisco Collective Security Intelligence ecosystem for up-to-the-minute protection against both known and emerging threats.

State and local government agencies relying on a potpourri of point security products probably have security gaps that are creating serious risk. Let us show you how Cisco’s integrated cybersecurity platform automatically shares data and takes action to stop threats before serious damage is done.

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