Why Monitoring Is Key to System Integrity

Why Monitoring Is Key to System Integrity

Working as a contractor for the DoD requires compliance with the DFARS 252.204-7012 rules, which are based on the globally recognized NIST 800-171 guidelines. Meeting these rules is not a one-time fix, but rather something that must be maintained with continuous monitoring and improvement. Above all, security must take a proactive stance, in which contractors have the necessary systems and procedures in place for stopping potential threats before they have far-reaching consequences.

What is cybersecurity monitoring?

Cybersecurity monitoring refers to a wide range of tools and processes designed to proactively monitor information systems for certain threats. One of the most popular solutions is a security incident and event management (SIEM) platform, which collects and analyzes information to detect suspicious behavior.

Security monitoring systems maintain a complete audit trail of everything that happens on your company network. For example, it tracks login attempts, changes to configurations, malware, and hacking attempts. Monitoring services can also track the integrity and availability of your systems to ensure there are no invalid configurations or files and operating systems that may have been manipulated during an attempted attack.

While not an all-in-one security solution, monitoring is still a crucial part of any organization-wide security solution.

Keep up with compliance demands

Today’s security monitoring systems are highly configurable and are designed to work with a wide range of computing environments. Many take a rules-based approach, where users can set the standards for security based on internal company policies and compliance mandates. For example, monitoring systems may look for potential breaches of DFARS 7012 compliance, giving you a chance to remediate quickly.

The regulatory landscape is constantly changing. Even though the law itself might not change so often, many compliance regimes like DFARS require businesses to implement the latest security controls according to frequently updated frameworks like NIST 800-171. A continuous cloud-enabled monitoring solution makes it much easier to keep up with the evolving demands of compliance.

Respond to potential threats faster

It takes most businesses many months to discover a data breach, and this often happens long after serious damage has already been done. For defense contractors, such an incident may result in the cancellation of important contracts, reputational damage, and even litigation. This is why businesses must be able to respond to threats before they result in data breaches, and that is much easier to do with round-the-clock monitoring.

The mean time to respond (MTTR) is one of the most important metrics for security teams to track. After all, nothing can be done to stop an attack and remediate if you don't even know that the attack is happening. Real-time security monitoring uses an alerts-based system that works around the clock to immediately inform administrators about suspicious behavior, such as unusual login attempts or unpatched operating systems.

Understand your adversaries better

By recording every single security-related activity that occurs across your network, monitoring systems can do a lot more than just send alerts when it detects anomalous behavior. These systems can also reveal important insights into your overall security posture, giving you many recommendations on how to improve. That way, you can continuously improve your security systems and always keep a step ahead of the threats against them.

Armed with a complete audit trail of everything from logins to operating system updates and configuration changes, administrators will also have a valuable resource for threat intelligence. This will help them make sense of what is really happening, so you can better guard against new and emerging threats. Comprehensive monitoring solutions can do this by providing easy access to evidence-based knowledge that includes context and actionable advice.

Validate your compliance efforts

Every business, regardless of its size or industry, faces certain compliance regulations. Being able to prove and validate your efforts to comply with legislation is essential when the auditors come knocking, or a potential client is demanding evidence that their data will be safe in your hands. For example, DoD contractors must prepare for routine CMMC audits, and a failure to comply with DFARS 252.204-7012 could result in harsh penalties.

Monitoring solutions oversee the collection, normalization, and organization of all security log data to give you a single source of truth and full visibility into your security posture. Instead of having to manually retrieve log data to compile your compliance reports, a comprehensive monitoring solution should generate compliance reports automatically. This saves time and money and proves your efforts to proactively maintain the integrity of your data systems.

If you are looking to win contracts with the DoD, Charles IT will help make sure your systems are ready for DFARS 7012 compliance. Give us a call today to schedule an assessment!