Report: Some good news on government IT security

A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers states that the government has greatly improved its use of security technology, but it still lags on setting policies for using that technology and training employees about it.

Less than two of three government officials responding to the survey said their organizations have an overall information security strategy or centralized security information management process, and about half don’t understand basic ideas such as risks to sensitive data.

Three-quarters of the public-sector respondents said their organizations have people directly responsible for security, either as a chief information security officer or chief security officer. Slightly more than half of those respondents had those positions in 2006.

Meanwhile, organizations have made “wholesale, double-digit advances across a wide range of security technologies, from prevention to detection,” the PricewaterhouseCoopers report states. The gains came in data encryption and areas such as reduced or single sign-ons and centralized user data stores, the survey states.

However, most organizations don’t know how much personal data they collect, transmit and store, the company said, and many don’t have a requirement that employees certify in writing that they are following internal privacy policies.

The survey also found that less than half of the organizations have identity management strategies or tiered authentication levels that limit various users’ access to data.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report concludes that many of these gaps could be plugged by government organizations adopting sound security practices, such as enacting a risk-based approach to security, extending protection to employee data, auditing and monitoring users’ compliance with policies, and developing an incident response plan.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group