Much of the information produced and stored on the networks of U.S. government agencies holds the key to national security and the country's operations. So it's surprising that a new report from IDC Government Insights has revealed that spending on security by federal organizations is lagging behind that of their private-sector counterparts.
While it's true that the most important federal networks are protected by cutting-edge data security measures, the research firm acknowledged, there are others holding sensitive information that remain vulnerable to attacks and data breaches. And as recent headlines have shown, cybercriminals with malicious intent have shown a willingness to exploit such vulnerabilities.
Overall, the Perspective – Benchmarking FY12 U.S. Federal Government IT Security Spending by Agency report found that the average federal organization plans to spend about 8 percent of its fiscal 2012 budget on data security measures.
Comparatively, a 2007 IDC study found that all organizations spend an average of 19 percent of their budgets in this area. Researchers admitted that figure could have grown during the past several years, but also said it can serve as a good benchmark for the average company.
"While some mission-critical government networks are state of the art when it comes to IT security, the federal government as a whole lags behind most other industries when it comes to IT security investments," the report stated.
In all, IDC researched each federal agency's security spending, and compared it to other government organizations, as well as private-sector companies. The research firm said the results of the report can be used by government agencies to compare their level of spending against that of their peers, and make adjustments accordingly.
It's surprising that government organization's aren't doing more to protect their networks, considering the fact that they and their contractors face constant data security threats. According to a Reuters report published in May, the security of government-related networks has been an issue for some time, especially when it comes to defense contractors.
Joel Brenner, the former National Counterintelligence executive who served in the role between 2006 and 2009, told the news provider that weak network security has leaked government secrets since the 1990s. He added that such threats mainly originate in Russia, China and Iran, according to Reuters.