Finding the balance of security, mobility in an Internet of Things world

Paul Battaglia, the vice president of federal sales for Blackberry, said agencies want a single “pane of glass” to monitor the cyber posture of all of their mobile devices from laptops to smartphones to wearables.

The use of mobile technologies and the evolution to the Internet of Things (IoT) is reshaping the way government executes on its mission. From smartphones and tablets that let employees work from anywhere at any time to the wide adoption of WiFi at places like the Pentagon.

At the same time, the move to mobile presents a major challenge—cybersecurity. How can agencies secure the ever-growing number of devices?

Among the most startling findings of a Homeland Security Department report from March was that mobile devices could become an avenue to attack back-end computer systems containing the data of millions of Americans and sensitive information related to federal government functions.

DHS made 10 recommendations ranging from agencies adopting a framework for mobile device security based on existing standards and best practices to Congress and OMB enhancing the metrics for the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) to focus on securing mobile devices, applications and network infrastructure.

The security of mobile devices becomes even more important when you consider this evolution offers agencies a path to improve productivity and communications and the overall services to citizens.

Paul Battaglia, the vice president of federal sales for Blackberry, said agencies are struggling to secure the growing number of mobile devices. He said federal chief information officers and chief information security officers are looking for a way to monitor, in real time, the cyber health of all of these assorted devices through a single central dashboard.

“Management of all these devices has become overwhelming. So what we need to do is get to a more centralized management so we can do away with these multiple systems trying to manage things,” Battaglia said on the Innovation in Government show. “That is the foremost goal, find a unified system on a single pane of glass that can get us good management.”

He said CIOs and CISOs need to be sure that none of these devices are creating a back-channel device into their network.

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“Everything is at risk, let’s face it. Phones are more consumer grade than military grade. None of these devices are military grade. A refrigerator on the network at a VA hospital that is storing blood is not military grade,” Battaglia said.

At the same time, Battaglia said there is tremendous opportunity to address these risks and secure IoT devices while also taking advantage of all that they have to offer in terms of meeting mission needs.

“We talk about the benefit of extending the network out to law enforcement, enabling citizen services and even port security, but the fact of the matter is all of these devices are small and they are portable,” he said. “Let’s take a low-tech example that is probably high risk and that is leaving a smartphone or a tablet on an airplane in a foreign country, and that device happens to have sensitive government data. This presents a real challenge for the CIO and CISO. The best solution for that is what’s known as a container that isolates the government data from the other data on the mobile device. It effectively puts a moat around the government portion of the information on the device.”

Battaglia said the device also includes policies that controls the dissemination of the sensitive data. The policies may include another password or a biometric to see the data.

“The use of encryption that is built into these containers really ensure the data can’t be accessed from outside the container. That is the key here,” he said. “These are being widely used. A container technique and strategy is absolutely vital to protecting national secrets.”

Additionally, the policies also protect against data leakage. Agencies can maintain control over the information so it’s not accidently—or purposely—sent out of the network.

Battaglia said the security tools also can help defend against the insider threat.

“A sensitive document is placed in its own security wrapper and the author or whoever controls the document applies policies to it that stays with the classified document throughout its history no matter where it’s stored,” he said. “It could be a laptop or a thumb drive, and once that file is connected to the network, the permissions are invoked.”

 

About Blackberry

BlackBerry® is a leading software and services company dedicated to securing the Enterprise of Things.

BlackBerry software provides the embedded intelligence to secure the Enterprise of Things so that the Internet of Things (IoT) can thrive. Our software platform, BlackBerry Secure, is a comprehensive mobile-native approach to security that addresses the entire enterprise from end point to end point.

With software and services from BlackBerry, enterprises in a range of industries – from healthcare, financial services to government — are empowered to:

  • Identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats.
  • Manage and secure a diverse and growing set of endpoints such as smartphones, tablets, wearables and laptops.
  • Protect files and IP by enabling users to securely access, share and collaborate.
  • Develop powerful applications, workflows and business processes.
  • Unify crisis communications within and between organizations.

BlackBerry holds 80+ security certifications and is listed in the top position in all six categories of Gartner’s high-security mobility management study. The company is ranked among the top 10 percent of all cybersecurity providers. All G7 governments and 15 of G20 are BlackBerry customers. BlackBerry Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) software is the most widely-deployed among Fortune 500 companies.

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company was founded in 1984 and operates in North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. For more information, visit www.BlackBerry.com.

 

Resources

 

Host

Jason Miller, Federal News Radio

Jason Miller is an executive editor and reporter with Federal News Radio. As executive editor, Jason helps direct the news coverage of the station and works with reporters to ensure a broad range of coverage of federal technology, procurement, finance and human resource news.As a reporter, Jason focuses mainly on technology and procurement issues, including cybersecurity, e-government and acquisition policies and programs.

 

Guest

Paul Battaglia, Vice President of Federal Sales, Blackberry

Industry veteran Paul Battaglia has recently joined Blackberry as Vice President of Federal Sales. Battaglia will manage sales of Blackberry’s market leading enterprise mobile security software platform designed to protect iOS, Android, and Blackberry phones from hackers and foreign adversaries. Before joining Blackberry, Paul served as Senior Vice President for mobile forensic software company Cellebrite. He also held senior leadership positions as Oracle Corporation, high performance computing consultancy Instrumental, where he served as CEO, and as President of Inxight Federal Systems Group, which was acquired by SAP.

The 30-year sales veteran will manage the growth strategy for Blackberry’s transformative Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) software which provides provides comprehensive device, application, and content management with integrated security and connectivity across iOS, Androind, Windows, Blackberry, and other platforms.