Why Good Cyber Hygiene – Beginning at the Endpoint – is Vital to U.S. Cybersecurity

August 26, 2021

Federal agencies can close vulnerability gaps and improve their cyber hygiene by focusing first on endpoint devices

By Teddra Burgess, Senior Vice President, Public Sector, Tanium

For too long, we’ve let cybersecurity run in the background, expecting it to work. Today we can no longer afford that kind of apathy. Cybersecurity impacts all of us, and it’s time to make it the national, public-facing issue it deserves to be.

Cybersecurity incidents now make the headlines almost daily — the Colonial Pipeline and the Kaseya ransomware attack are just two recent examples — and citizens want the U.S. federal government to do more. Fully 80% of Americans think federal policymakers should invest more in cybersecurity. And nearly 60% believe cybersecurity is essential, even if it comes at the expense of investments in transportation, infrastructure and education, according to a new Harris Poll.

However, there’s a major challenge: Cybersecurity can suffer from a “bystander effect,” in which everyone in the ecosystem assumes someone else will resolve the problem. Given the size of the United States, that’s easy to understand. For example, when the Steamship Authority of Martha’s Vineyard was the subject of a cyber attack, the local community paid attention, but most Americans trusted experts would take care of it, protecting them and their way of life.

Endpoint focus

The good news is, federal agencies can close their vulnerability gaps and improve their cyber hygiene, and they can do it by focusing first on endpoint devices.

Many federal agencies lack both a comprehensive asset inventory and understanding of how their assets are being used, who’s using them and their associated vulnerabilities. While point solutions can provide a subset of critical data, they cannot display a real-time picture of what’s occurring within a network.

By instead focusing on the fundamentals – or cyber hygiene – federal agencies can make a monumental difference, and while earning the public trust. Good cyber hygiene – which starts at the endpoint – can have both immediate and long-term positive impacts on our nation’s cybersecurity health.

This strategy has been reinforced by President Biden’s recent cyber executive order (EO), which focuses on strengthening enterprise-wide visibility and control. The president’s EO also underscores the importance of greater collaboration between the public and private sectors to better understand and manage risk.

Many Americans agree with this approach. In a recent Harris Poll, 84% say more information should be shared by government agencies, the military and private companies. Americans also believe these groups should partner to prevent future cybersecurity attacks. This strategy would also help to break down traditional information silos, which can slow incident response and prevent the sharing of best practices.

Tanium offers the only enterprise endpoint management and security platform with a unique, patented and proven communications architecture. It gives organizations comprehensive, real-time visibility, along with the control to make critical decisions and take the right action, right now. The Tanium platform is also the only reliable endpoint management and security platform that is both robust enough to run in a variety of diverse environments and flexible enough to handle management and security needs that can change by the second.