The state of cybersecurity from the federal cyber executive perspective

The state of cybersecurity

Cyber attacks have become the new business reality. Recent breaches have revealed a number of vulnerabilities across the federal government and brought increased attention from the media and the public. To better understand the current state of cybersecurity, KPMG LLP and (ISC)2 surveyed federal cybersecurity executives who are on the front lines defending the government’s information assets.

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The state of federal cybersecurity

The reality that cyber attacks once considered preventable are now regarded as inevitable has long been understood and acknowledged by cyber professionals, but this reality is just now reaching the masses due to media coverage of high-profile breaches in recent years. The increased public scrutiny has added to the federal government’s enormous task of defending itself against an infinite number of attackers.

In March 2016, (ISC)2 and KPMG surveyed a targeted pool of executive-level government officials and contractors to determine the current state of federal cybersecurity and to offer recommendations for advancing the government’s cybersecurity progress. Responses cover a range of topical areas that are key to understanding the state of cybersecurity today, including professional development, governance and standards, resource and program management, and risk management and resiliency.

Key findings, include:

  • 59% of respondents say that their agency struggles to understand how cyber attackers could potentionally breach their systems
  • 65% of respondents disagree that the federal government as a whole can detect ongoing cyber attacks
  • The lack of accountability was consistently identified as a top challenge
  • People can be their organization’s greatest cybersecurity asset or greatest liability

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Watch KPMG's Tony Hubbard discuss the report on ABC7 WJLA's Government Matters.

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