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Governments across the globe are issuing cybersecurity mandates to prevent cyberattacks and enforce regulatory compliance. Government agencies span employees, consultants and contractors and require robust internal information security standards alongside federal regulations to protect data such as classified records, trade secrets, patents, copyrights, and IP. For example, under the US’ Department of Defense (DoD), contracts are required to be DFARS compliant and have appropriate security controls governing Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Additionally, governments emphasize the importance of national security to protect its citizens, economy, and institutions from harm. This involves prioritizing data security within critical infrastructure sectors, ensuring that sensitive information related to energy, nuclear, water, aviation, and manufacturing are strictly safeguarded.  

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Challenges

Complex Regulatory Environment

Government agencies and contractors need to maintain compliance with multiple standards  Defense agencies and contractors, for example, are governed by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). They are also required to be CMMC compliant and have appropriate security controls governing Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)These regulations  require companies to track and control the access to and distribution of sensitive data, including intellectual property and technical data. 

Espionage and National Security Threats

The Federal Government is a prime target for threats, where employees or contractors may be recruited by foreign actors to misuse or steal sensitive data.  Attacks can be very sophisticated and difficult to detect because of the resources available to malicious actors. 

Citizenship and Clearance Requirements

Many rules require that  government employees or contractors  in certain roles or with access to restricted data are U.S. citizensEnsuring that only those with the required citizenship or clearance can access controlled data imposes significant costs on agencies and contractors, with  heavy repercussions if not done correctly.

Globalization

The Federal Government faces hurdles in globalizing operations due to the restrictions on where sensitive information can be accessed and stored, and on which users can access it. These restrictions can limit access to the global market for resources and talent, raising costs and limiting efficiency.

The Formula to Securing Chemical Company Data

To overcome the challenges surrounding regulatory compliance, third party risk and insider threats, chemical companies need to apply automation as well as enforce security controls to prevent unauthorized access. A comprehensive and proactive approach to data security should contain 

Distributed Policy Engine

A distributed policy engine can enforce centrally managed policies anywhere and everywhere. Need-to-know policies are consistently applied across all environments, regardless of user or location. This enables companies to manage complex access control and IP protection requirements across the organization, partners, and the extended enterprise.  

Data-Centric Security Enforcement

Through policy enforcement, companies can implement ABAC (Attribute-Based Access Control) and data-centric security controls such as digital rights management (DRM). This approach secures sensitive data at rest, in use and in transit throughout its lifecycle, mitigating risks associated with third-party networks and persistently protecting IP when it is shared. 

Automation and Prevention

Chemical companies can use the policy engine to automate security controls, preventing data breaches before they happen. Given the highly dangerous nature of controlled substances data, companies cannot allow leaks to happen in the first place. Therefore, a preventive strategy is far more effective and efficient compared to a “detect and respond” approach.  

Real-time Logging and Visibility

It is crucial for chemical companies to log and monitor all data access activity in real time. Enhanced visibility in a chemical company helps identify anomalies and potential risks in supply chain activities. This approach is also key in managing insider risks, especially among privileged users who have access to highly sensitive or proprietary chemical data. 

Challenges

Complex Regulatory Environment

Government agencies and contractors are governed by regulations, such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Defense Federal Acquistion Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 

Regulations Expanded

  • ITAR aims to safeguard US national security by limiting access to specific technologies and their data resources such as requiring citizenship to access restricted data. 
  • EAR applies to scenarios where commodities or physical objects are exported from the US, re-exported from a foreign country, or transferred from one person to another in a foreign country. 
  • DFARS is a set of rules used to oversee the purchase of goods and services including technology. This amendment is used by countries such as Australia, Canada, and the UK. 

Espionage & National Security Threats

A prime target for threats, governments must stay alert about foreign actors who may recruit employees or contractors to exploit or steal sensitive data. 

Espionage Statistics

In 2021, 30,000 U.S. organizations were attacked due to cyber espionage that focused on stealing emails from victim organizations. 

As many as 64% of companies across the globe has experienced cyberattacks with 26.3% of all cyber warfare being directed toward the United States.

Citizenship & Clearance Requirements

Numerous regulations mandate that government employees who hold specific positions or need to access restricted data must be citizens of the country

Requirement Information

For instance: Non-U.S. citizens shall not be authorized to access or assist in the development, operation, management or maintenance of sensitive data. There must be a compelling reason for using non-U.S. citizens as opposed to a U.S. citizen.  

Approach to Overcome Challenges

To overcome the challenges surrounding citizenship and clearance requirements, as well as espionage and national security threats, Federal Government agencies need to automate and enforce security controls to prevent unauthorized access. A comprehensive and proactive approach to data security should contain: 

Robust Data-Security Policies

Government agencies must have data security policies that include data retention and timely response to data breaches. 

Data-Centric Security

Ensures Government agencies have their data protected and secured from threats like cyberattacks through their entire lifecycle from creation to disposal.

Continuous Monitoring & Response

Response is crucial for early risk detection and allows government agencies to have real-time visibility into their data access activity to identify and respond to potential threats.  

Compliance Auditing

Auditing should be done regularly as it allows Federal Government agencies to identify and address vulnerabilities in their security controls earlier. Audits should cover security policies, data access controls, data handling procedures, and government employee training.

Automation & Prevention

Automating systems allow agencies to quickly and effectively manage data security, compliance procedures, and internal controls to enhance agility. Automation helps with preventative controls and cuts out manual methods by using fine grained access control methods and zero trust architecture leading to less human error and reduces restorative cost.     

NextLabs Solution

Robust Data-Security Policies

Nextlabs’ policy management platform CloudAz, assists companies with creating and implementing data security policies. These policies can apply regulatory controls applicable to the user, data, and environment in real-time. 

Data-Centric Security

NextLabs provide data-centric security controls that always protect sensitive data, regardless of its location. These controls can encrypt data while allowing companies to define and enforce data access policies based on user roles, locations, and devices. 

Continuous Monitoring & Response

CloudAz, monitors using real-time visibility allowing data access and usage to detect security incidents. This policy management platform provides alerts based on security gaps and policies, enabling rapid response to security incidents. 

Compliance Auditing

CloudAz provides centralized auditing that enables government agencies to prove compliance, ensuring the integrity of data security policies. Compliance reports can include data handling, data access, and policy enforcement while highlighting potential security gaps. 

Automation & Prevention

NextLabs’ platforms automate the enforcement of data access policies using preventative controls measures/strategies such as Dynamic authorization and Attribute Based Access Control. The platform improves data security by showing changes immediately and reducing the cost of policy management.   

NextLabs Solution

CloudAz Centralized Policy Platform

NextLabs’ unified policy management platform, CloudAz, enables companies to author and centrally manage security policies that are enforced dynamically in real-time. It offers simplified policy authoring with business-friendly policy language, preserving policy integrity with approval workflows and version control. This streamlines the management of complex data protection requirements for chemical companies, protecting sensitive data anywhere and everywhere.  

CloudAz Dynamic Authorization Policy Engine

When a subject requests access to sensitive information on controlled substances, CloudAz’s Dynamic Authorization policy engine evaluates security policies and real-time attributes to make the authorization decision. This enables consistent policy enforcement across multiple applications, automatically preventing unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information, which is key to maintaining compliance and trust with employees, regulators, investors, and the public. 

SkyDRM Digital Rights Management

SkyDRM is an enforcer and DRM solution that enables secure collaboration among multiple vendors and supply chain partners. Users can apply digital rights like View, Edit, Print, and more, to files shared with external personnel. This ensures that sensitive data remains protected in cases where a network is comprised. Even when files are downloaded by subcontractors, SkyDRM enforces controls over what actions they can perform with the data. 

DAE Dynamic Data Masking

DAE (Data Access Enforcer) helps companies manage IP protection within the complex network of global collaborations, obfuscating the value of sensitive data in unauthorized fields. Centrally managed policies define masking patterns and rules to determine who, what, when, where, and why to mask field(s) in real-time. This secures sensitive information such as chemical formulas and methods shared among internal teams and external business partners. 

CloudAz Report Server

CloudAz’s centralized monitoring provides real-time visibility into data activity and events, enabling organizations to vigilantly monitor data access and usage, especially regarding potential security incidents involving privileged users. CloudAz helps identify anomalies and provide alerts when it comes to risky behavior. It addresses not only malicious data misuse, but also mitigates risks associated with human error and lack of awareness among insiders.  

NextLabs Resources