Although federal agencies are increasingly turning to big data and analytics to improve their cybersecurity posture, they are struggling to fully maximize the benefits, according to a report by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT.
The report, Navigating the Cybersecurity Equation, underwritten by software company Cloudera, is based on an online survey of 150 federal IT managers on how federal agencies are leveraging big data and analytics to protect against cybersecurity threats.
The study revealed that eighty-one percent of federal agencies use big data analytics for cybersecurity, with over half incorporating it into their overall cybersecurity strategy. This represents a significant leap from 2013 when just a quarter of agencies were using big data.
However, budget challenges, privacy concerns, and lack of management support and skilled personnel are preventing agencies from fully leveraging big data. As a result, less than half of those using big data for cybersecurity believe their efforts are “highly effective” and fifty-nine percent deal with a compromise at least once a month.
“Internal and external cybersecurity threats will continue to evolve daily and we need to unlock the power of the data in order to regain the advantage,” said Rocky DeStefano, Cybersecurity Subject Matter Expert, Cloudera. “Agencies need complete visibility into the data across their enterprise. These teams also need the ability to flexibly analyze that data in a meaningful timeframe so they can detect advanced threats quickly, identify the impact and reduce the associated risk. Accelerating investment in the platforms necessary to collect and analyze this data is critical to the success of these programs.”
Big data shows enormous promise in today’s heightened threat environment. Nearly all of the big data users surveyed experienced a decline in security breaches by using big data and analytics. Furthermore, big data has also played a role in helping agencies thwart attacks.
With ninety-four percent of agencies planning to invest in big data over the next two years, accelerating investment in the necessary infrastructure, tools, and training will be imperative to effective big data adoption.
“Agencies face a perfect storm of cybersecurity threats,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk. “When you’re headed into troubled waters, you need a weather forecast. Big data provides agencies with the visibility to ensure they don’t end up the river without a paddle.”