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RMF and the Evolution of Cyber Security Frameworks

Rob Chee, Iron Bow Technologies

October 18, 2018  |  Cyber Security  •  IT Modernization


Government cyber security regulation isn’t new, but it is constantly changing. Nearly a decade after the first relatively static cyber security standards were introduced in 2006, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) set out to develop a continuous process for networks security with the Department of Defense  (DoD) Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) that then matured into the Risk Management Framework (RMF). RMF addresses the increased speed and regularity of cyber threats and is constantly updated to keep up with the dynamic cyber security landscape.

NIST has also prioritized keeping RMF holistic, encompassing the spectrum of cyber security threats and challenges as they evolve. NIST breaks down the process into six steps to help define security during the whole lifecycle of a system. The first three steps focus on IT systems, selection of security controls and implementation of those controls. The last three—assessing controls and how they’re working within the IT environment, authorizing controls to be deployed systemwide and evaluating system controls on an ongoing basis—make up RMF’s continuous monitoring portion.

Continuous monitoring is valuable because cyber criminals are constantly changing their attack methods. It gives a security visibility into an agency’s IT environment and takes into account both planned and unexpected changes in hardware and software that could leave systems vulnerable. NIST defines the practice as maintaining ongoing awareness of information security, vulnerabilities and threats to support organizational risk management decisions.

It’s a complicated process and few agency IT departments have the time or expertise to make sure every part of the system is properly rolled out and monitored. Iron Bow and its partners streamlined the arduous continuous evaluation process not just to ease the burden on financially conscious and over-burdened IT departments, but also to make sure every requirement is met to keep our nation’s data as safe as possible.

For example, combing through the endless data to find those specific to RMF reporting requirements can eat up a lot of time. Technology from Splunk, an Iron Bow partner, allows agencies to sift through mountains of data and create a record of all machine behavior, user behavior, security threats and fraudulent activity—all essential to meeting RMF requirements.

Iron Bow partners’ compliance solutions streamline the continuous monitoring process, which would otherwise take agency IT staff away from more mission-critical work. Through partners like Splunk, Iron Bow can automate both the monitoring and reporting requirements by pulling all four classes of required evidence for RMF compliance as well as reporting and visualizing all data required for RMF.

Iron Bow’s experts understand the RMF guidelines and how to bring together the tools to satisfy those requirements for our clients. We stay on the cutting edge of technology, so agencies can stay devoted to their mission.

So if RMF is keeping your team from working on the tasks that matter most, Iron Bow and our partners can help take the load off your shoulders. For more information, visit the Iron Bow website.


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