Global State of Information Security Survey: Public sector

Public sector respondents detected 25% fewer security incidents in 2014

Incidents and security spending decline

Public sector respondents detected 25% fewer security incidents in 2014. And while current and former employees remain the most-cited culprits, governments are increasingly concerned about insiders like service providers and contractors. The fastest growing sources of incidents, however, are foreign nation-states, activists and hacktivists. Despite these rising risks, investment in information security declined in 2014.

Insider threat programs are lacking

Battling insider risks demands a new focus on employee training, data access, and continuous network monitoring --imperatives that many agencies have not addressed. Consider that only 57% have an employee security awareness program. Other insider threat measures that are under-utilized include cross-functional collaboration, technologies to detect malicious code, and threat intelligence services.

A need for monitoring and diagnostics

Governments are encouraging agencies to continuously monitor and analyze assets and activity to help anticipate risks, build intelligence, and accelerate responses. While that's an increasingly complex undertaking, certain processes and technologies form the foundation of a monitoring and diagnostics program. Yet implementation of these measures dropped in 2014.

Why identity management is essential

Identity and access management is a core tool that many public sector agencies continue to grapple with. In fact, only 50% have identity management solutions in place. More forward-thinking organizations, on the other hand, are starting to adopt biometrics and multifactor authentication. The next step may be linking physical and logical access with tools such as electronic identity cards.

The importance of sharing information

Over the past several years, governments have issued guidelines and legislation to encourage organizations to share information on threats and response techniques. Nonetheless, the number of public sector respondents who collaborate with others dropped in 2014. For many, a lack of a unified framework for information sharing between private and public sectors continues to be a roadblock.