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Quantum Computing and its Impact on Cybersecurity

Quantum computing’s ability to solve complex problems that are beyond the capabilities of the traditional computer renders it exceptional. While the quantum research community applauds the accelerated rate at which quantum computers are being developed; it is also a threat considering it can unravel the algorithms behind the encryption keys that protect the assets we hold most dear (like our data and the internet’s infrastructure).  It is estimated that within the next 3-5 years quantum computers will be able to break a 2048-bit number.  This remarkable breakthrough continues to erode the timeline, demonstrating the hastening approach of a new paradigm in security.

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To download the full whitepaper please fill in the below form at the end of which the white paper will be available for download.

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Digital Dominance – Using Data as a Tactical Advantage

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Digital dominance is all about using data as a tactical advantage in this new world of cyber actions and defense. Data, its management, analysis and reporting are the key towards maintaining the tactical edge in any organizational posture. Irrespective if the application is civilian or military in nature, digital dominance is at the core of a successful enterprise, homeland security and military force projection. In the case of homeland security and military the digital dominance can serve as a significant force multiplier in both defense and offensive measures.

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Data is being generated at an incredible pace from within and outside our firewalls and is building up in our large and sometimes unwieldy data lakes. Data is being generated in vast amounts through the proliferation of computing devices across our networks, “edge sensors” like unmanned aerial vehicles, IOT sensors, mobile device and other smart devices. As our edge sensors propagate more on the field, the data collected should not only be used for tactical decisions but also harvested for long term comparison and intelligence analysis. Another source of data is the internet where actors use this global network for everything from communication to staging nefarious cyber actions. This source of cyber data not only needs to be captured but also sorted and analyzed with advanced automation to ensure we can take near real time actions to detect and mitigate any vulnerabilities. Despite the large advances we have made in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), a large amount of our data continues to be unleveraged because they are not identified, tagged or prioritized.

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To download the full whitepaper please fill in the below form at the end of which the white paper will be available for download.

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Supply Chain Cybersecurity White Paper

Supply Chain Cybersecurity includes a complex of everyday operating issues affected by a network of known and unknown connections, services and components. This paper provides a strategic overview of the supply chain cyber     issues from the perspective of vendor operational security.

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We examine the accelerating escalation of supply chain risks, leading to 2021 executive orders and vendor cyber certification requirements. Concise recommendations and links to frameworks and self-assessment resources provide a starting point for the journey to healthier supply chain

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Co Authored By Maria Horton and Shivaji Sengupta who both serve on the AFCEA International Homeland Security Committee. This white paper is an output of the Innovation Technology Sub Committee under the Homeland Security Committee.

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Data Security

Data provides a critical foundation for every organization and is a necessity irrespective of whether your information is on premises or in hybrid cloud or in cloud environments. Protecting and using it securely is central to every organization zero trust strategy.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals also see the value of data and seek to exploit security vulnerabilities to put your information at risk.

Data Security vulnerabilities are constantly increasing within the complex, multi-faceted and multi-tenant infrastructure of many organizations. Magnus help your organization protect critical business data from undesired access and mishandling, and secure data from deletion, ransomware and theft. Magnus helps you gain greater visibility and insights to investigate and remediate threats and enforce real-time controls and compliance.

Magnus data security services include:

  • Data security strategy: Improve maturity across people, process and technology
  • Data discovery: Find your most critical data assets, who has access and how they are protected
  • Data loss prevention: Detect, prevent and enforce policy violations to avoid accidental data loss
  • Data security governance: Establish process, metrics and continuous steady-state data discovery and classification
  • Database security monitoring: Helps enforce data protection and compliance policies across multi-tenant environments

Information that could compromise your cyber security posture

The open government data movement began fully maturing in early 2009, at a time when government(s) and society began to truly realize the beneficial value of government data; and open standards were taking root as drivers of innovation. The thrust of this movement was to identify all valuable Government data sets, and to require agencies to make them available to the public, at no cost, and in open-standard formats that ordinary citizens and enterprises could easily access and leverage.  

These key principles were enshrined in the Data.gov initiative, established in May 2009, by, then-Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the United States.  Ten years later, Data.gov still serves to provide public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, creating the first publicly available repository for federal, state, local, and tribal government information.  

In our attempt to be transparent and share information with all stakeholders; we sometimes inadvertently share sensitive information that could compromise the cyber security posture of the organization.

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Why is CMMI Level 3 Relevant for Cybersecurity?

Maturity models have been around for more than three decades, as early as the 1980s.  The original intent of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) was to assess the United States Department of Defense (D.O.D.) contractors’ processes.  The success of the software projects was measured using the CMM measurements.  Higher maturity scores were equivalent to better processes.  Higher scores also meant that the contractors used established and reputable processes and best practices for software design, development and quality assurance.

The context in which the term ‘maturity’ was used had special significance.  It was used in reference to specific aspects of the assessment, where the level of organization and optimization of each operation could range from ad hoc to formal.  Because CMM’s initial focus was particularly aimed at improving the software development process, its scope and application was very limited. For this reason, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University revised it.  It then became known as the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).  This new framework superseded the original CMM in scope.

The extended scope of CMMI now allows it to have a footprint in multiple disciplines.  These include Information and Communication Technology (ICT), business process management, service management, civil engineering, manufacturing and cybersecurity.

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Anatomy of the SolarWinds Breach

There are many entities throughout the world that use third-party software as part of their business. When they do this, the service they receive form part of the supply chain of the company. SolarWinds is a key vendor with 33,000+ of the world’s companies and government entities use their software. The 22-year-old US-Based company, supply system management tools that are used by the IT professions within these organizations. The tools are responsible for a number of important services including software management, application monitoring, network configuration, etc. The Orion suite in particular, is SolarWinds most widely deployed network management system. It is used to manage and monitor the network infrastructure of the host company. To do its job effectively, the Orion suit needs absolute visibility of the company’s diverse set of network technologies. For this reason, it is common practice for network administrators to configure SolarWinds Orion with extensive privileges consequently, making it the perfect target for threat actors. On December 13th, 2020, it was discovered that the Orion software suit was infected with the malicious software called Sunburst.

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Mobile Security

Magnus team has managed the Mobile Security posture of federal agencies both from a policy management / device management (Mobile Device Management) and mobile application vetting perspective. Magnus engineers have worked extensively with The Lookout and IBM MaaS 360 tool suites to deliver this service.

In a recent case study, our Mobile Security engineering team is responsible with mobile secure communications and monitoring of security technologies of 10,000+ devices and have tested and vetted hundreds of applications both on the iPhone and Android platforms. This includes configuration management, application IT security, identity and access management, device management, log analysis, storage management, and remote access for all devices managed.

In addition, Magnus Digital Forensic Engineers have the knowledge and subject matter expertise to provide detailed reports to management to reveal what occurred to bring a device under the umbrella of a forensic investigation. In cases where an Executive Summary is needed for VIP or senior level management, MAGNUS Forensic Engineers have ability to present the details in a manner that is easily digestible for senior management.  In the instance where a deep technical description is needed, MAGNUS Forensic Engineers have the knowledge and experience to present the findings in a detailed manner.  As forensic investigations and e-discovery becomes more important both in government, corporate, and the private sectors, MAGNUS Engineers continue to stay up to date with processes, challenges, new tools, and changes as they come about.

Operations Management

MAGNUS Operations Management offers our clients the full range of consulting services. These services include:

  1. Development of Operations Strategy concepts,
  2. Product and Service Management,
  3. Service Delivery & Support,
  4. Integration Management
  5. IT Management.

Additionally by combining our functional Operations Management competencies with specific industry knowledge we are able to serve our clients with customized approaches responding best to their specific requirements and needs. A great deal of our focus is on efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Therefore, MAGNUS Operations Management consulting often includes substantial measurement and analysis of internal processes.

Program Management

Magnus has a proven record of successful support for CIOs and PM staff through: task area performance monitoring; program analysis and management; implementation of process improvement initiatives; and making information management efficient, uniform, accessible, and secure.

We perform the types of work called for in Performance Work Statements throughout our IT portfolios and provide service management to our clients as they request it – benchmarking our projects from inception to closeout through detailed Project/Task Order Management Plans (PMPs). Project management and technical support for IT application and business systems, software development (including Agile), documentation, and reviews, assessments, and system architecture analysis and make recommendations on enterprise architectures are core specialties. Portfolio Management and IT Governance and objective IT alignment (budgets, objectives, mission, etc.) are conducted in our PMO.

We support our clients in the Investment Review Board and IT Executive Council decision-making process and provide cost and financial analysis to their portfolios, including benefits realization techniques. We provide IT Milestone Reviews and IT Portfolio Management training as well as OMB Budget Submission support, including budget data, earned value and monthly submission data, pass-back, and ad-hoc data requests. All of these services are provided in the federal IT environment.

Our approach to comprehensive and effective project management is described below:

  1. A strong Program Management based on PMBOK best practices that provides an effective way to develop and coordinate requirements, manage the project risks, and manage the resources that ultimately makes the project successful.
  2. A Risk Management Plan (RMP) to identify risks throughout task execution, monitor activities for potential risks, mitigate risks, and develop contingency plans should those risks come to fruition.
  3. A highly skilled, stable, security-conscious, and multi-functional workforce with a strong team ethics to partner with our clients and work towards a shared goal.
  4. A Change Management process that helps the organizations, both Federal and Contractor staff, to embrace change in a positive manner.
  5. Customer Surveys as a tool to provide a method to assess stakeholders views on the parameters of service delivery, including quality, timeliness, and efficiency. The survey’s results are used in the Continual Service Improvement (CSI) which is one of the ITIL processes.
  6. Training program to improve the education and the professionalism of the workforce.
  7. Clear dispute resolution processes and procedures regarding the recording, reporting, scoring, and reviewing of performance.