In a recent study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) titled Urgent Actions Are Needed to Address Cybersecurity Challenges Facing the Nation, four major cybersecurity challenges were addressed with ten suggested actions that the federal government should be taking to solve these issues. The challenges include establishing a cybersecurity strategy, strengthening federal systems, safeguarding critical infrastructure, and protecting sensitive data and ensuring data privacy. With technology threats constantly evolving, it can be difficult for agencies to ensure their cybersecurity.
Charles Armstrong, managing Partner e2.71 Advisory Services, Inc. and Cylance advisory board member, suggests that the federal government may never truly be secure due to the constant changes in technology including portable devices. He explained that most agencies only think about the protecting the perimeter, that is – being able to keep threats out or shut attacks down. However, portable devices have changed the game making networks vulnerable to attacks. “Agencies must have a strategy that makes them secure at all levels, not just the perimeters,” he said.
Armstrong also suggests that the mobiles operating systems should be making them more secure. Until then, federal agencies can follow the instructions of GAO to boost their cybersecurity. To build a cybersecurity strategy, GAO urges agencies to mitigate global supply chain risk and address cybersecurity workforce challenges. To strengthen federal systems, agencies should improve the implementation of cybersecurity initiatives, address weak security practices, and bolster the response to cyber incidents.
To safeguard critical infrastructure, GAO calls for a larger federal role in protecting infrastructure such as telecommunications networks and electricity grids. For the fourth challenge, protecting sensitive data, GAO is calling for improvement of federal efforts, limiting the collection of personal data, and regulations on how the data is stored and handled.
GOA’s recommended security measures can help federal agencies stay protected in the event of a cyberattack, ensuring the safety of delicate information. “Improved security measures will benefit the federal government at all levels,” said Armstrong.
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