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The Intersection of Cybersecurity and Intelligent Automation

Author: Tom Temin / Source:

As the cybersecurity challenge has morphed into a multi-front battle – from the insider in the next cubicle to a distant but malevolent foreign power – chief information security officers, network operations and security operations center staffs have steadily acquired a variety of tools to counter the threats. Few federal agencies are operating with an abundance of resources, even for such a high priority activity as cybersecurity.

  1. Segment 1: The Current State of Continuous Monitoring and CDM Programs

That would be a formula for cyber chaos – except for the rise of automation. That is, agency security staffs are adopting strategies for automating cybersecurity tasks such that people have more actionable information more quickly. Automation also frees staff up for higher level tasks such as planning, research and data analysis.

To explore these issues, Federal News Radio convened a panel of experts:

  • Leo Scanlon, senior adviser for health care and public health sector cybersecurity in the CIO office at Health and Human Services
  • Ray Letteer, chief of the Cybersecurity Division at the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Tony Hubbard, principal at KPMG

Letteer explained a new Marine Corps implementation of the Navy’s “comply to connect” policy under which every endpoint is automatically scanned and evaluated for cyber threats each and every time its user logs on. If it passes muster, the system checks it hourly while it is connected.

Scanlon detailed how, after last year’s government-wide cyber sprint, HHS has established two-factor authentication for all of its users, en route to two-factor for systems administrators and network staff members.

He also explained why the need for cyber defense automation is extra important for HHS. Many of the department’s agencies and bureaus are connected directly to the greater health care ecosystem, and health care data is among the most sought-after target of hackers.

Hubbard said automation and orchestration of information technology processes such as cybersecurity monitoring and mitigation aren’t new, but they are becoming more widely adopted as agencies improve their fundamentals…

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