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Top Cyber Security Threats: Insiders, Hackers, Foreign Governments

close up of hands working on laptop with security symbols

A new survey from IT management software provider SolarWinds has outlined the top security threats for public sector organizations. The 2020 Public Sector Cybersecurity Survey Report includes responses from 400 IT operations and security decision-makers across federal, state and local, and education institutions.

Overall, 52 percent of survey respondents pointed to careless/untrained insiders as the greatest source of IT security threats for their organization. Other top threats included the general hacking community (cited by 46 percent of respondents), foreign governments (29 percent) and malicious insiders (28 percent). Education respondents in particular were most concerned about hackers, with 54 percent of those individuals citing the general hacking community as a top threat.

Respondents reported a number of obstacles to maintaining or improving their organization's IT security. The top three: budget constraints (cited by 27 percent of respondents); complexity of internal environment (16 percent) and competing priorities and other initiatives (14 percent). More than other public sector groups, education respondents said that budget constraints and lack of training for personnel are key challenges.

Across all sectors, respondents rated the maturity their cyber security capabilities as the highest in endpoint protection (57 percent), continuity of operations (57 percent) and identity and access management (56 percent). Among the metrics used to measure their success: incidents detected (58 percent), meeting compliance goals (53 percent), compliance audit results (52 percent) and threats averted (50 percent). Still, less than half of respondents felt confident in their team's ability to keep up with evolving security threats.

The full report, including more details on security tools and strategies, is available here.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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