For many government agencies, cybersecurity can be an afterthought, a one-off, single product they add on after the fact to meet regulation or protect from basic hacks. What these agencies don’t realize is that cybersecurity isn’t an afterthought – it’s closely tied to an agency’s core mission. Whether that mission is public health, national security, financial regulation or energy, a strong cybersecurity strategy fuels agency innovation and growth. It reduces costs and lowers risks, while also making agencies more efficient and inventive. It fosters – not inhibits – the development of digital offerings and business models that help agencies operate.

My point is this: security is, at its core, a mission-enabler. So for so many in government, why does it just seem to be an afterthought or something that gets in the way? A big part of the reason is that agencies aren’t placing enough importance on cybersecurity, seeing it as an extra thing they have to do instead of a core component of their IT strategy. Without a holistic, mission-driven cybersecurity strategy that’s integrated throughout your agency, it is going to continue to get in the way.

For example, say your agency gets a new cloud application. If you’re treating cybersecurity as an add-on, you’ll need a new single-use security product that will require a new, secure sign-on – and another password for employees to remember. But if you had planned, budgeted for, and executed on a holistic cybersecurity strategy, you might have invested in a solution like Cisco ISE integration with Microsoft Active Directory and Pin Identity. This would give your employees single sign-on access across multiple applications like Box and Smart Sheet. Because employees only have a single password for everything, it’s easier to remember, increasing productivity and reducing help desk costs. It also keeps your agency even more secure, since employees with multiple sign-ons tend to write their passwords down, which is a huge security risk.

With agencies racing to prove relevancy in the new digital economy, there are more opportunities than ever to be hacked – mobile, cloud, IoT, analytics, etc. At the same time, adversaries are becoming more sophisticated, creating threats that are increasingly pervasive and harder to detect. This new landscape makes it even more important for cybersecurity to meet – not defeat – business purposes.

Here at Cisco, we’re constantly pushing the idea of mission-driven cybersecurity for government agencies. We believe security should be made simple – it shouldn’t be getting in the way, but should play a crucial role in achieving your agency’s mission. We build our industry-leading threat intelligence directly into our solution offerings to help your agency easily get a holistic security approach. Through integration, automation, and openness, our purpose is to help cybersecurity drive the mission for your government agency.


Will Ash

Senior Director, U.S. Public Sector

Global Security Sales Organization (GSSO)