Top government IT threat? No, it's not cyber attacks

Wed, 2013-10-09 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

You'll see some worrisome results from a new survey of government IT leaders by Council Lead Partner Cisco and Clarus Research Group. One that stood out for us: 35% of the federal, state and local IT decision-makers that participated in the survey ranked budget constraints as the greatest threat to IT infrastructure. Number 2 was cyber attacks at 17% ,followed by employee personal devices on the network at 9%. The troubling reality is that inadequate budgets limit an IT staff's ability to protect infrastructure again cyber attacks. But the survey has other red flags, as you'll read below.


Asked what their organization's most important technology goal is, improving security was rated the top goal within the federal sector and reducing costs was the top concern of the state/local sector.

"Budget constraints have impact on security, cloud and bandwidth," said Vic Northrop, VP of sales enablement for Cisco in an InformationWeek report on the survey. "All of them have an impact on [managers'] ability to deliver services to their client base."

The survey was conducted in September, prior to the government's current partial shutdown. It is based on interviews with 400 IT professionals working in federal, state or local governments.

Asked where new technology spending is most needed, education was the top choice to “greatly increase spending," followed by healthcare, homeland security and emergency disaster management.

Other key findings include:

  • Cybersecurity is expected to experience the greatest increase in investment over the next year. That’s followed by cloud computing and networking, rounding out the top three.
  • Cybersecurity and cloud is expected to increase more rapidly in the federal sector. On the other hand, networking is expected to increase more rapidly in the state/local sector.
  • Big Data analytics is expected to see a greater rise in federal investment than state/local investment.
  • 47% believe the U.S. is falling behind other developed countries in the deployment of broadband
  • 62% of respondents do not believe most local and state police departments are fully using the latest law enforcement technologies (among state/local sector respondents, it was 66%).

You can see more results from the Cisco Connected Government Study here.