CwC Sponsor Update: Intelsat

Questions You Should Ask Your Satellite Operator about Cybersecurity

The weakest link in your security chain puts your entire network at risk. With cyber threats increasing and getting more sophisticated each year, you need to understand your satellite operator’s security posture.

Here are six questions to ask your satellite provider.

  1. How are you securing your networks (not just your satellites)?

Given the scope of the satellite ecosystem, it is not enough to just secure the satellite itself. Today, satellite networks are global and span multiple terrestrial, satellite and other access connections. Every end-point across the distribution cycle needs to be assessed, tested and secured. The satellite operator needs to ensure that the entire ecosystem has the right security posture to harden your company against the gamut of attacks pervasive in today’s environment.

Intelsat utilizes multi-platform, layered controls to establish proactive security that limits opportunities for content and other data to be compromised on the ground or in-orbit.

  1. What are the key elements of your information assurance plan?

A satellite operator’s security program should include a systematic defense-in-depth approach to detect, prevent and mitigate attacks to ensure resilience in their satellite, ground and network infrastructure.

  • Integrated Security Program

The satellite operator and its ecosystem partners should have integrated plans in place to adhere to the most stringent information assurance compliance criteria. At the same time, your satellite operator should have standalone information security functions that operate separately from the ecosystem partners and are also apart from its own network and satellite operations.

  • Layered Security Framework

A comprehensive and layered framework needed to ensure the confidentiality, availability and integrity of the satellite operator’s services. Security should be at the core of the design and configuration of a satellite service operators’ infrastructure, network and service delivery architectures.

  • Assessment and Remediation Program

A comprehensive information assurance assessment and remediation program should include recurring penetration assessments, organization-wide control assessments and third-party Service Organization Control audits against the service provider’s entire satellite and terrestrial service environments.

Policies and procedures must be in place to ensure that every level of the organization is aware of the security measures. Information assurance cannot be an afterthought. The company’s culture and operational fabric should include education and awareness of cyber threats, what to avoid and how to respond to a cyber-attack.

  • Standard Compliance

It is critical that satellite operators and their ecosystem partners comply with the latest security standards. For example, Intelsat complies with National Information Assurance Policy established for Space Systems used to Support National Security Missions (CNSSP-12).

Intelsat utilizes a pervasive security framework that includes layered controls, a mature compliance program, extensive audit and assessment initiatives, and a coordinated incident response process.

  1. Has your network been audited recently by an independent firm?

Cybersecurity is too complex and disruptive to rely solely on internal security reviews. Intelsat is the only satellite operator that has been audited by the independent auditing firm and completed a Service Organization Control 3 (SOC 3) review of security controls. This provides commercially accepted validation that our products are offered in an appropriately secure environment.

  1. Are your partners doing their part to keep content secure?

Your content remains at risk if your partners do not follow best practices and are not transparent. Companies need to ensure that each ecosystem partner has the right security requirements in place to maintain security in-orbit and on the ground.

Intelsat has multiple levels of cybersecurity in place for our partners. We proactively work with customers to ensure our connected ecosystem is protected against active threats at all stages of uplink, downlink and terrestrial transport. We take full responsibility of assessing our ecosystem partners with the same rigor that we look at everything else.

  1. Are you prepared to rapidly detect and mitigate a breach?

The question is not whether there will be any attacks, but how well your satellite operator can manage a breach and still maintain your network availability and integrity. An experienced team that can quickly assess the situation and mitigate the threat is critical.

Intelsat proactively monitors for security breaches and have plans in place to quickly communicate the details to the appropriate parties to limit the impact of the breach, secure data, and prevent future breaches.

  1. Are you leveraging the latest satellite innovations to secure your content?

Intelsat maintains secure flight operations for all wide- and spot-beam satellites. The Intelsat EpicNG platform is unique due to its advanced digital payload, which include features that allow us to move traffic between beams. This is critical for mitigating interference. If someone broadcasts a rogue signal, it can be very difficult to locate. The advanced digital payload enables us to quickly identify and shut down the source of interference much faster.