As remote work expands the enterprise attack surface, a federal advisory committee highlights the key challenges in securing critical IT infrastructure and building more resilient organizations.
On October 6, the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) voted to approve a letter to the President recommending ways to strengthen the resiliency of our nation’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure as the U.S. government continues to consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country pivoted to remote work almost overnight – and with it, the attack landscape changed, too. The rapid transition to remote work left employees connecting to enterprise networks from personal and potentially unsecured and unmanaged environments, which also host any number of personal devices and applications. The blended and expanded enterprise attack landscape poses ongoing challenges to security teams in keeping critical infrastructure and data secure.
The letter recommends that the federal government, and in particular the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), “should communicate and reinforce the responsibilities of enterprise leaders to ensure their employee home-points and—by extension—enterprise networks, systems, and cloud-based services, are secure, thereby upholding the national security imperative and delivering broad economic benefits."
This is spot-on – ensuring that organizations understand these threats is the first step towards mitigating them, and CISA and the federal government should take this recommendation seriously. As we know, attackers go where the money is and where they expect to have the most success.
As remote work continues, organizations and governments must take these threats seriously and work to adapt their security programs accordingly. This trend isn’t going away once a vaccine hits – remote work is likely here to stay, and enterprise leaders have significant responsibility in securing their own networks and information.
And it does not have to be complicated. Earlier this year, Tenable CSO Bob Huber laid out several important ways to secure a work-from-home organization’s network. The simple things organizations must do include securing your cloud-based applications, adding IT systems management platforms to company laptops and using local vulnerability detection agents. These are all simple steps that can go a long way in securing enterprise networks in the work-from-home environment.
CISA has also developed important telework guidance to help enterprises and organizations improve their security posture, with a strong focus on cyber hygiene practices. As the letter points out, CISA and the entire federal government must continue publicly communicating these recommendations across the public and private sectors.
NSTAC has listed several areas for improvement that should be taken to heart, but critically important is the fact that the attack landscape is changing. It is expanding more rapidly than ever before and should serve as an important reminder that enterprises must continue to adapt their risk management practices to account for these changes.
Cyber hygiene is at the heart of what we do at Tenable because we know it is effective. Patching vulnerabilities and keeping systems updated are basic, preventive steps that can dramatically decrease the frequency of successful attacks, like what we have continued to see throughout the pandemic. These are simple steps, but they have to happen, and it’s on enterprise leaders to ensure they do. We must stay on top of the threat landscape to keep the nation’s cyber exposure in check.
- Read the blogs:
- Designing IT Infrastructure for a Distributed Workforce: Insights from a CIO
- How to Secure a Work-from-Home Organization: Insights from a CSO
- View our Edge Week sessions: