Insight by Akamai

Maintaining federal business continuity during a drastic rise in system usage

The recent health care crisis has seen a drastic increase in internet traffic. The unexpected outcome has been increased attacks on federal infrastructure that could reduce federal business continuity in a time when it is needed the most.

Attacks on systems resources that can deny business operations are an existent threat. Today’s threat environment has adversaries with skills that approximate ours and can exceed ours in many ways.

One way to assure business operations will continue is to alter the way people are granted access to network resources. Older technology stacks relied on basic levels of the networking process; today’s environment means federal information technology professionals must expand the number of layers included in the access process.

Patrick Sullivan, chief technology officer for security strategies at Akamai, recently joined Federal News Network to present options for increasing business continuity in a crushing environment of remote access and incredible traffic loads.

Circumstantial Impact on Business Continuity

There's no question that we're seeing unprecedented increases in Internet traffic. And we're pretty used to seeing a 10, 12 terabytes a second for an event and then things quickly subside, but to give you an indication, the peak traffic we saw in Q1 of 2019 on our platform was around 70 terabytes a second. Q1 of 2020, that is now closer to 170 terabytes a second.

NIST Guidelines and Business Continuity

We ended up making some compromises there, but I think the good news is that technology has advanced so much so that we can now move our security from the network layer up to the application layer and really have security that is identity aware.

The Cost of Business Continuity

I think one of the fantastic things about NIST is how thoughtful they are when they make recommendations. It is recommendations for the next 10 years not for the next 10 weeks.

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