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Public Services:
optimizing the cyber security resilience

Public Services:
optimizing the cyber security resilience

The client’s request

For one of our customers in the Public Services arena, Covalens has executed a study to help the organization in increasing its cyber security resilience.

Cyber criminals are constantly looking for weaknesses in the security of ICT environments, so that they can gain access to computers and sensitive data. The most common causes of these exploits are software and network vulnerabilities. The criminals will do anything to introduce disruptive malware and compromise system infrastructure.

That is why our client wanted to optimize the maturity of its ICT security. With this in mind, an external audit was carried out, from which a new safety plan was drawn up. Two of the core areas in the new security plan are (1) vulnerability management and patching and (2) network segmentation.

Based on these topics in the safety plan, two study projects have been defined. The execution of the Study was entrusted to Covalens, part of De Cronos Groep. The result of the study is a comparison of several possible solutions for vulnerability management and network segmentation.

Why Covalens?

Covalens guides changing organizations in drawing up all kinds of long-term plans related to their digitalization challenges. A well-thought-out security roadmap is crucial in this respect.

De Cronos Groep is a large, dynamic and innovative ecosystem, where the Customer can go for any technology or solution.

Covalens plays a role in this as an independent advisor and helps the Client in making the right choices. We continue to supervise the implementation of the chosen technologies, so that we can assure the Client that the final result remains well-aligned with the original objective of the project or program.

Vulnerability management

While vulnerability management is effective against many cybersecurity risks, the sheer number of data breaches proves that organizations often overlook the implementation of a robust vulnerability management process and are therefore put at risk by undetected patches and misconfigurations.

Vulnerability management aims to detect such vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can discover them by examining an organization’s security posture.

This is exactly why implementing a vulnerability management program and process is essential for businesses of all sizes. Strong vulnerability management leverages threat intelligence and knowledge from the IT team to prioritize risks and quickly address security vulnerabilities.

Network segmentation

In a traditional network architecture, only a firewall is used and a separation is made between an external (untrusted) and an internal (trusted) network. In this way, a kind of castle wall is built around internal components. The greatest danger of this approach is that – as soon as an attacker (hacker) manages to penetrate the internal network – they have free rein. After a successful intrusion, the attacker can move freely within the internal network. A common method used by Ransomware criminals, for example, is to extract the valuable data information and crown jewels in addition to encrypting the data.

Network segmentation prevents a virus or attacker from spreading throughout the network. Network segmentation is the splitting of the entire network into smaller segments, with a firewall between the segments. This ensures that attackers located in a network segment do not immediately have unimpeded access to other network segments.

The traffic between these network segments can be controlled and/or blocked by setting good rules in the firewall and checking this. As a result, any incident is limited to a shielded part of the network and people cannot immediately move freely through the entire network.

The Approach to the Study

Covalens organized a number of workshops to map out the current situation and to thoroughly map out the precise expectations and needs for the future, aligned with the guidelines of the new security plan.

From there, possible solutions were proposed based on the broad expertise present within De Cronos Groep.

To be able to make a realistic estimate of the timing and the budgetary impact, a high-level action plan is being developed for the two domains.

The results of the study are presented to IT Management and the various IT Teams.

After the Customer has made a final choice in terms of technology, a detailed implementation path is drawn-up for each of the specific solutions.

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Bert Teuwen

Covalens HQ
Veldkant 33A
2550 Kontich