How well prepared are IT professionals within U.S. government agencies to respond to foreign cyber threats? Will government initiatives, such as the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and the creation of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Coordinator role, be effective in addressing the challenges facing U.S. critical IT infrastructure? What is the impact of compliance on security within the federal IT environment?
Commissioned by Lumension, Clarus Research Group set about to answer these and other important questions facing federal IT in Lumension's "Federal Cyber Security Outlook for 2010: National IT Security Challenges Mounting" study. Clarus Research Group interviewed over 200 federal IT decision-makers and influencers about endpoint operations, IT security and compliance issues.
The survey identifies the top security risks facing federal IT in the coming year as the growing volume and sophistication of cyber attacks and the potential loss of sensitive data due to mounting insider risk. Also, the survey found that there is an advanced persistent threat targeting critical U.S. IT infrastructure. However, current government initiatives, such as the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, may not be enough to overcome the challenges facing federal IT professionals in addressing these new risks and challenges.
While the majority of respondents feel more confident in their level of IT security today versus a year ago, this is mainly due to improved IT security technology, stronger collaboration between IT operations and security, and a focus on meeting compliance requirements. However, increasing audit burdens and a lack of resources are identified as major challenges in meeting compliance requirements.
While the challenges, threats and risks facing federal IT professionals in their task to secure America's critical IT infrastructure are daunting, these professionals are making progress in meeting these challenges head on. To be successful in the long run, a stronger focus and empowerment of current federal initiatives will be required.