By Omar Rafik, SolarWinds Senior Manager, Federal Sales Engineering


Here’s an interesting article on critical cyber roles within the federal government that require improved IT skills and stronger leadership.


The public sector faces an incredible number of cybersecurity threats and given that the government houses some of our most sensitive data, the number of attacks will continue to grow. What’s worse than the number of attacks is that, statistically, about one in three targeted attacks results in a security breach. As these breaches continue to grow more dangerous, it’s critical to identify and recruit the right personnel to ensure a stronger security posture.


Meeting that need head on, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has put out a call for data to identify the most vital cybersecurity needs across the federal agencies. Beginning in 2019, federal agencies will be required to submit reports annually through 2022. The OPM is asking agencies to:


  1. Identify critically needed cybersecurity roles
  2. Determine the root causes of cyber workforce shortages
  3. Develop an action plan to combat those root causes


While this is a great step toward stronger agency security, what can federal IT pros do today to help combat increasing threats?


Enhancing the Technical Team

According to a recent report by Accenture, government executives are less confident that they are successfully monitoring, identifying, and measuring breaches. In fact, most feel their current federal cybersecurity monitoring efforts are insufficient. In fact, more than half specifically mention cyberthreat analytics as a key cybersecurity gap.


Assume an agency already has a solid network and application monitoring platform—one that provides a unified view of all the information throughout the infrastructure. This is the most critical first step.


The platform by itself isn’t enough. Understand your inventory (software, hardware, tools, people); understand the data that’s being stored and passing through these systems; and shore up the team tasked with monitoring, analyzing, and acting on the data being provided. Adding more highly-skilled staff or upskilling your current team should be your first priority.


It can be imperative to have a security management platform that can detect anomalies or abnormalities as well as the personnel to analyze and understand the implications of the information being provided.


Agency Leadership

The second half of the equation for a stronger cybersecurity posture is strong cybersecurity leadership.


The adage that the tone of any organization comes from the top is absolutely true in the world of cybersecurity. Sound leadership should espouse good cyberhygiene and help to create a culture of cybersecurity awareness and diligence. Cybersecurity leaders should emphasize accountability and build and support a strategy to make that possible.



There are two distinct approaches when considering where your agency can enhance its hiring and personnel support: the highly technical end, where experts can identify and act on anomalies before they become threats, and the managerial end, where leaders can encourage and enable a culture of awareness, diligence, and accountability.


Find the full article on Government Technology Insider.


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