Meeting Public Safety Cybersecurity Needs = Prevention + Detection + Response + Training

Ransomware, cyber-attacks, and zero-day exploits are constantly in the news these days. As a public safety leader, what can you do to ensure that your agency is safe? How can you choose sensibly from thousands of choices for cybersecurity tools and vendors?

Brian Beckwith, Chief Science and Engineering Officer, Intuitus

March 25, 2021

Ransomware, cyber-attacks, and zero-day exploits are constantly in the news these days. As a public safety leader, what can you do to ensure that your agency is safe? How can you choose sensibly from thousands of choices for cybersecurity tools and vendors?

The cybersecurity vendor landscape is vast. To say that there has been a proliferation of tools and methodologies is an understatement. Here are some key insights that we think public safety leaders will find useful. It really can be this simple and jargon-free!

Securing a public safety agency for cybersecurity is much like securing your home or business physically:

  1. Secure all the entrances and exits.
  2. Install sensors to detect anomalous activity.
  3. Set up a mechanism to respond promptly when sensors send alerts.
  4. Train occupants to follow safe practices.

To ensure the cybersecurity of your agency, you need to follow the same steps. The only difference is in what you are protecting in the process of securing, detecting, responding, and training.

Securing All Entrances and Exits

Entrances in cybersecurity are ways in which your agency’s network can be accessed from outside such as i3 ESINets, the internet, and other agency networks (neighboring jurisdictions, and even state CJIS networks), emails, mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers. Exits are how your employees access the internet, or other agency networks, all from work computers, emails, and so on.

Installing Sensors

Cybersecurity of your agency is intricately woven with the security of your network. Just as motion detectors, surveillance cameras, and burglar alarms for physical security can detect and identify thieves, comprehensive capture and monitoring of your network activity and critical logs can help detect anomalous activity and identify their perpetrators.

Responding to Alerts

This point, specifically, rings home for public safety professionals. Response time is everything. Prevention and detection could be fruitless if alerts cannot be responded to in a timely fashion. Many agencies using traditional cybersecurity tools struggle with this. A recent study found that it takes businesses, on average, 201 days to process a security alert. Contrast that with how little time it takes a hacker after breaching your systems to install ransomware and inextricably compromise your agency — minutes to hours — and you can understand the importance of a timely response.

Safety Training

Just as you do not want your family members to share your home security code with anyone outside, you want to ensure that your workforce understands basic cybersecurity safety precautions. Many people are surprised when they learn the level of sophisticated tools available to even a novice hacker to learn about their business and personnel and craft a clever “phishing” email designed to steal information required to hack into their network.

Constant reminders of cyber safety best practice are an important ingredient of workforce training. However, we must also remember that even the most clever employees or executives can be fooled some of the time. Even an employee with malicious intent could pose an insider threat. Hence, the critical need for detection and response.

Conclusion

After reading this article, we hope that you will agree with us that Cybersecurity = Prevention + Detection + Response + Training.

Intrado offers a comprehensive cybersecurity-as-a-service offering that includes all required elements at a low cost. The technology was developed by The Boeing Company and has been used in the defense sector, protecting vital networks for over a decade. This cybersecurity offering is provided through our partner, Intuitus.

Learn more here: Cybersecurity by Intrado

Author Name
Brian Beckwith, Chief Science and Engineering Officer, Intuitus