Government agencies rank cybersecurity as top priority, according to report

November 6, 2012

In response to the Obama administration's Cloud-First policy, many government agencies are updating their IT departments to include cloud computing services in hopes of inspiring other organizations to do the same. Although cloud adoption can provide a multitude of benefits for agencies, including improved efficiency and unlimited storage, some professionals are concerned about the security risks.

Cybersecurity remains a major concern
The Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance - a group of 18 leading technology vendors - recently conducted a government-wide study and found that agencies are wary about integrating new technologies because of threats that may compromise information. The "Cyber Security and Transformational Technologies – Keeping Systems and Data Safe" report showed that 85 percent of 203 polled government IT managers ranked cybersecurity as a top priority, followed by mobile computing (39 percent), big data (27 percent) and the cloud (26 percent).

According to the study, 63 percent of respondents are interested in implementing the cloud, big data and mobile technologies into their infrastructures, however, the alliance determined that integration may be unlikely due to fears, including the spread of malware, phishing emails and spam, as well as employee misuse and malicious insiders.

Steps to ensure data security in government agencies
To encourage cloud adoption and secure data, experts recommend that federal departments apply for FedRAMP. This program outlines safety standards and procedures to follow when assessing cloud products, which can help ease agency anxieties. Government departments should also install network security and antivirus software to block hacker attacks, and educate federal workers on threats and best security practices. Individuals can do their part to protect confidential information by employing strong passwords to inhibit unauthorized users from gaining access to a network.

-McAfee Cloud Security