Why the Networx transition is a security imperative

The cyber threat has evolved radically since FTS 2001 established the basic framework for telecommunications services across the government, writes David Hughes, managing partner and co-founder of TurningPoint Global Solutions.

David Hughes is managing partner and co-founder of TurningPoint Global Solutions.

Agencies that are behind in transitioning their telecommunications services to the Networx contract could be costing themselves more than they realize.

Experts say the transition from FTS 2001 to Networx is inherently complex, partially because the new telecom program offers so many more features. But one of the critical features is a set of security offerings that agencies cannot afford to do without.

Since FTS 2001 established the basic framework for telecom services across the government, a transformation has occurred in technology and cyber threats. The Government Accountability Office recently reported that almost all 24 major federal agencies had weaknesses in information security controls.

Even a minor loss of data could be costly. In April, the American National Standards Institute released a report on the financial management of cyber risk in which it estimated the cost of an average data breach of 10,000 records as $1.5 million, or $150 per record. For a government entrusted with the records of 300 million Americans, the potential cost of a data breach is in the tens of billions of dollars.

To combat that threat, industry has developed new technologies, and government has enacted new policies. However, some of those technologies are available only through Networx. One such program is the Trusted Internet Connections initiative.

Begun in November 2007 — concurrent with the Networx transition — the initiative has a simple task: reduce vulnerability by reducing the number of Internet gateways to federal systems. Since then, agencies have reduced their external connections by nearly 50 percent. However, according to the latest GAO report, none of the major agencies and departments has met all the requirements of the TIC initiative. Acquiring telecom connectivity via Networx is one of the six major milestones of the program.

The security imperative is not lost on members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In March, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote an open letter to Attorney General Eric Holder expressing their concern about the delay in the Networx transition. It “is of particular concern given the security of federal networks and the opportunities to use new technologies to assist agencies in strengthening their cyber defenses,” they wrote.

Much of the delay in gaining connectivity via Networx is because most agencies don’t have a clear idea of what kind of network connections they have. Beginning in 2007, a snapshot inventory was taken of every telecom connection — known as the Transition Baseline Inventory. However, each time the inventory grows, the snapshot is invalidated, making the transition even harder. In fact, since 2007, the inventory has grown by more than 25 percent.

As agencies fall behind in tracking their telecom assets, they slow the transition to more secure technologies and critical programs, such as TIC. They also underscore the troubling reality that they don’t really know what communications systems they have. If you don’t know what you have, how can you know what your vulnerabilities are?

What we do know is that the threat to our networks is real — and it isn’t waiting for the transition. We know how to mitigate the threat: get a handle on the growing network inventory, complete the transition to Networx and meet the milestones of the TIC initiative. All we need now is for agencies to recognize the pressing security imperative of the Networx transition.

 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.