Risk

9/23/2013
10:03 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Products and Releases
50%
50%

Federal Cybersecurity Professionals To Leadership: We Can Do Better

MeriTalk report examines state of cybersecurity at federal agencies

Alexandria, Va., September 23, 2013 – MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, today announced the results of its new report, "FISMA Fallout: The State of the Union." The report, underwritten by NetApp, examines the state of cyber security at Federal agencies and looks at whether the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is hurting or helping agencies improve cyber security and protect data. According to the report, Federal cyber security professionals lack confidence in FISMA, and do not believe their agencies' current cyber security solutions are sufficient and sustainable.

Federal agencies face cyber threats from every angle. In the past 12 months, agencies defended against insider threats or leaks (64 percent), non-state actors (60 percent), and state-sponsored threats (48 percent). Given the growing number and increasing sophistication of the attacks, just one in five (22 percent) cyber security professionals rate their agency's cyber security solutions as sufficient and sustainable.

Although FISMA is designed to aid agencies in addressing these threats, it may be doing more harm than good. Just 53% of Federal cyber security professionals say FISMA has improved security at their agency, while 86% report that FISMA compliance increases costs. In addition, 28% view FISMA as encouraging compliance rather than risk identification and assessment, 21% believe it is insufficient in dealing with today's cyber threat landscape, and 11% believe it is an antiquated law.

"FISMA's compliance model is not keeping up with the evolving security landscape or the security demands," said Mark Weber, president of NetApp U.S. Public Sector. "There is a shift in the industry from compliance to continuous monitoring, and a vast number of new technologies exist to support this change. Our Federal cyber professionals should be given the resources, regulation, and management support to take advantage of these technologies to help thwart cyber security attacks."

Agencies' current network speed and capacity limits also hinder security efforts. More than half of cyber security professionals (55 percent) say their agency is either overloaded or cannot keep up with the amount of data already crossing their network. The data deluge is not ending anytime soon – cyber security professionals expect the total amount of data their agency must protect to grow by 47% by 2015. As a result of the growing amount of data, cyber security professionals say users experience slower network connections (35 percent), agencies experience challenges in handling large amounts of data in real time (32 percent), and the network and security monitoring infrastructure cannot keep up with the network itself (18 percent).

Agencies may also be missing an opportunity to thwart attacks by not collecting and using data on previous breaches. Seventy-six percent of cyber security professionals say their agency records all data that leaves their agency but only 43% use that data to reconstruct the breach to determine where it took place. Twenty-one percent of cyber security professionals say their agency is unable to track where a security breach took place.

As a result of security challenges, just 40% of cyber security professionals are confident in their agency's security. Those confident in their agency's security are more likely to say their agency has an adequate budget (83 percent), their end users are compliant with cyber security policies (80 percent), and their cyber security department can identify and implement new cyber security technology effectively (91 percent).

To improve security, Federal cyber security professionals are looking beyond FISMA. The majority of cyber security professionals (83 percent) believe continuous monitoring will improve security at their agency. Most agencies (81 percent) have a system in place to continuously monitor their networks for cyber threats but one in four lack the capabilities and resources to effectively execute continuous monitoring.

To make agencies more secure, cyber security professionals recommend more focus on evaluating risk, additional budget and technology, and better accountability regarding end user unauthorized disclosure.

"FISMA Fallout: The State of the Union" is based on an online survey of 203 Federal cyber security professionals conducted in July 2013. The report has a margin of error of +/- 6.84 percent at a 95% confidence level. To download the full study, please visit http://www.meritalk.com/fismafallout.

About MeriTalk

The voice of tomorrow's government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Focusing on government's hot-button issues, MeriTalk hosts Big Data Exchange, Cloud Computing Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange and Data Center Exchange – platforms dedicated to supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 85,000 government community contacts. For more information, visit www.meritalk.com or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk. MeriTalk is a 300Brand organization.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Cybersecurity's 'Broken' Hiring Process
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  10/11/2017
How Systematic Lying Can Improve Your Security
Lance Cottrell, Chief Scientist, Ntrepid,  10/11/2017
Ransomware Grabs Headlines but BEC May Be a Bigger Threat
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  10/12/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
The State of Ransomware
The State of Ransomware
Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent new cybersecurity threats faced by today's enterprises. This new report from Dark Reading includes feedback from IT and IT security professionals about their organization's ransomware experiences, defense plans, and malware challenges. Find out what they had to say!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.