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BeyondTrust Public Sector Cybersecurity Trends Report Reveals Recent Government Policy Actions Are Galvanizing Agency Cybersecurity Improvements

BeyondTrust Public Sector Cybersecurity Trends Report Reveals Recent Government Policy Actions Are Galvanizing Agency Cybersecurity Improvements
  • 96% of senior IT and security professionals within the U.S. public sector report their cybersecurity budget has adequate funding
  • 82% believe the American Rescue Plan will boost government cybersecurity, with 34% saying improvement will be significant

BeyondTrust, the worldwide leader in Privileged Access Management (PAM), released the results of its Cybersecurity Trends in Government 2021 Report. To better understand the state of security in the U.S. public sector, BeyondTrust commissioned ReRez Research of Dallas, Texas, to conduct the survey. The results provide a nuanced view of public sector security in a state of transformation, as cyberattacks against all levels of federal, state and local government have risen sharply in recent years. As the threat landscape advances, security practices must evolve to stay ahead of adversaries and sophisticated threats.

The survey targeted 200 senior IT and security professionals within U.S. defense, federal civilian, state, and local government agencies, 80% in management roles. The report gauged which IT trends and evolving threats were most concerning for public sector security professionals, both today and in the near future (1 to 3 years).

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Report highlights:

Recent government policy actions are galvanizing agency cybersecurity improvements. 2021 has been an unprecedented year for cyber policy and prioritization. There is now a top-down focus on cybersecurity coming from the Administration and agency leadership.

  • 96% say their cybersecurity budget has adequate funding
  • Perceived cyberthreats are shifting, PAM remains key to keeping pace with adversaries
  • #1 risk today – remote worker or contractor vulnerabilities
  • #1 risk in 1-3 years – fileless attacks

PAM is ranked a top security control today and will grow in importance with emerging government programs.

  • 61% consider PAM extremely or somewhat important today
  • 71% of respondents expect PAM to maintain or increase its level of importance within 1-3 years

Cyber fears may have peaked – the future looks brighter.

Key drivers of optimism:

  • Positive impact of federal initiatives, such as the Presidential Executive Order (EO) on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity and the American Rescue Plan
  • Potential increase in cybersecurity funding (Biden’s 2022 Fiscal Budget request), and the confidence to select the right solutions
  • Pandemic pressures are subsiding allowing infosec teams to gain control of newly distributed networks and keep pace with adversaries

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“The results of the survey indicates that public sector entities while concerned with evolving cyberthreats, are also optimistic about reducing risk over the next few years due to a number of government initiatives,” said Craig McCullough, Senior Vice President, Public Sector at BeyondTrust. “If you look at the most feared threats, there is one common thread, all require the exploitation of privileged access—either at the initial point of compromise, or to advance an attack. This is why public sector infosec professionals consider privileged access management (PAM) a top foundational cybersecurity measure.”

The importance of PAM today was emphasized by the survey respondents, and PAM was also found to be a leading security measure 1-3 years from now. Security professionals validate that PAM will play a crucial role in securing emerging government programs, such as:

  1. Zero-trust networks
  2. Security supply chain risks
  3. Secrets management
  4. Artificial intelligence
  5. Machine learning

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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