According to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the federal government is experiencing an upswing in cyberthreats. The April 2015 report indicated that information security incidents have increased dramatically in number from 5,503 in fiscal year 2006 to 67,168 in fiscal year 2014. The GAO's analysis of yearly cyberthreats and incidents points to a security gap for the federal government.
This report and others conducted by the GAO make clear that the systems that the government uses to detect and respond to threats aren't adequate. According to the GAO, 19 of 24 major federal agencies are lacking in information security controls. Another report from April 2014 indicated that the 24 major agencies surveyed didn't effectively respond to information security breaches, and they didn't completely document their responses to cyberthreats around 65 percent of the time. In other words, the records showed that the agencies had identified a particular incident but didn't show they understood the incident's impact.
"[T]he cyberthreats facing the nation are evolving and growing, with a wide array of threat actors having access to increasingly sophisticated techniques for exploiting system vulnerabilities," the April 2015 GAO report said. "The danger posed by these threats is heightened by weaknesses in the federal government's approach to protecting federal systems and information, including personally identifiable information entrusted to the government by members of the public."
Organizations facing difficulties in detecting and responding to cyberthreats should make use of a managed SIEM solution instead of relying on perimeter defenses that are susceptible to breach. By strengthening the monitoring of internal systems, agencies can better protect information in both the public and private sectors.
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