Risk
5/6/2010
05:23 PM
50%
50%

Federal CSOs Split On Their Views Of Agency Security Posture

In survey, only half of CSOs think they have the ability to impact the security posture of their agency; more than one-quarter say their posture has slipped

The chief security officers at major federal agencies are worried about the threats currently faced by their organizations, and many of them don't think have the resources they need to defend against them, according to a study published today.

In a report compiled by Cisco and (ISC)2, only half of federal CSOs think they have a significant ability to affect the security posture of their agencies. Half of the CSOs say their postures have improved since 2009; 28 percent feel that things are worse, and approximately 20 percent feel that no change has occurred.

Twenty-seven percent of federal CSOs say software vulnerabilities are the most severe threat to their agencies; 24 percent cited insider threats. Only 21 percent cited threats from foreign nation-states as the most severe threat to their agencies.

Yet federal CSOs are feeling the pressure to do more on the political side than on the technical side, the study says. More than half (54 percent) say their jobs are becoming more political/policy-oriented, while 51 percent say their jobs are becoming more managerial in nature. Only 26 percent said their duties are becoming more technical.

"The nature of their jobs is changing," says Lynn McNulty, (ISC)2's director of government affairs. "What they do is becoming much more policy-oriented, and their duties are becoming less technical and more managerial."

David Graziano, federal security solutions manager at Cisco, agrees. "Security is becoming more recognized as a central part of each agency's mission, and it's affecting the CSO's duties," he says. "A few years ago, security was mostly about FISMA report cards. Now it's more core to the agency's entire operation."

While agency CSOs are more concerned about broader issues, they are also adapting to new technologies, Graziano observes. In the report, 78 percent of agencies said they are implementing Web 2.0 technologies. "Two years ago, they seemed to fear them," Graziano observes. "Now they are embracing them."

The same can't be said for cloud computing, according to the report. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they do not yet use cloud computing because they are uncertain as to whether they will be able to replicate IT security policies and data loss prevention processes in the cloud environment.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

CVE-2014-9688
Published: 2015-03-05
Unspecified vulnerability in the Ninja Forms plugin before 2.8.10 for WordPress has unknown impact and remote attack vectors related to admin users.

CVE-2015-0598
Published: 2015-03-05
The RADIUS implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted IPv6 Attributes in Access-Accept packets, aka Bug IDs CSCur84322 and CSCur27693.

CVE-2015-0607
Published: 2015-03-05
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

CVE-2015-0657
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco IOS XR allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (RSVP process reload) via a malformed RSVP packet, aka Bug ID CSCur69192.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.