Netskope Finds State and Local Government Struggle with Cloud Protection

Netskope unveiled research findings showing that despite continued investment in cloud technologies, State and Local Government Information Technology (IT) leaders face challenges in keeping up with modern data protection needs.

The findings are highlighted in a new Netskope survey assessing the most critical challenges facing business influencers and decision makers in State and Local Government Information Technology. Top priorities for these IT decision makers are vulnerability management (61%), along with data protection (50%), and security event and incident management (44%). To address these issues, the majority of state and local agency officials (58%) say they intend to move away from legacy applications within the next three years, replacing on-premises data centers and hybrid environments with the latest innovative cloud services and solutions.

A linking factor in modernization challenges, however, remains the ability to adequately protect data across cloud environments. Specifically:

  • 79% of respondents face challenges in tracking their data locations across their agency
  • Over half (52%) can’t see traffic across all applications being used in their system and nor do they have a complete view of all data across silos
  • 45% of respondents say lack of visibility across their hybrid environments is challenging
  • 40% say disparate data sources across servers and siloes also pose challenges
  • 78% cite difficulty tracking data spread over multiple siloes
  • 76% cite difficulty tracking who has accessed that data

“Part of agency modernization means having the tools at the ready for better understanding, analysis, and protection of the data your agency owns,” said Tom Gosse, senior sales director of U.S. SLED at Netskope. “Without being able to fully understand where the data is being gathered, where it resides, and when it’s being accessed or transferred, state and local agency decision makers will find it increasingly difficult to identify and implement a solution that can effectively and efficiently address any gaps or vulnerabilities. They should prioritize investment in modern, cloud-centric data protection that can adequately protect data across cloud environments.”

The Other Big Challenge: Complexity

State and local agencies have been challenged over the last several years to keep up with public expectations while balancing security needs and budget restrictions. The majority (65%) are actively investing in technology solutions that support their organization’s needs; however, even with standardized tools, the IT landscape is growing increasingly complicated. Over half (51%) of respondents say that IT systems are becoming very complex to manage, and 41% say it is difficult for their agencies to process and analyze data that is accumulating more rapidly than ever. The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT), cloud-based computing, and machine learning have all opened the door for a deluge of new ways to collect more data. Amplifying these priorities are the internal personnel challenges agencies are facing, including a lack of internal staff expertise (44%).

What IT Decision Makers Can Do

While hybrid and remote work is here to stay, the sheer complexity and scale of legacy systems that have been in place for years can make it difficult to integrate new technologies smoothly. Netskope partners with state and local government agencies to provide comprehensive security and compliance capabilities in support of their IT modernization goals, enhance productivity, and engage citizens effectively. To make the transition to cloud easier and more secure, Netskope recommends three areas of focus:

  1. Discern: Agencies have to be more judicious than ever in their spending, balancing budget needs with security priorities. Adopt a modern data loss prevention (DLP) approach that leverages a dynamic and adaptive zero trust model.
  2. Invest: Modern security problems require modern security solutions. Invest in a cloud DLP solution that leverages security context and automatically enables proper protection to secure sensitive data consistently everywhere across the entire enterprise.
  3. Support: Train staff appropriately and put data protection at the heart of the overall IT modernization strategy.

“In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, data has emerged as a driving force behind informed decision-making and effective governance,” said Elizabeth Lowery, Director of Research Services, Market Connections. “State and local organizations across the nation are recognizing the paramount importance of robust data management systems to optimize their operations and better serve their communities. However, the data shows that there are still significant challenges facing IT leaders as they work to empower their employees and make sense of their data. As these organizations move forward with modernization efforts, addressing the challenges around system complexity, data integrity, and security will continue to be pivotal to transformation.

Survey Methodology

Netskope partnered with Market Connections, a custom market research firm, to field The State of Data Protection survey.

The State of Data Protection survey provides key trends on how state and local officials are working to:

  • Assess current concerns and considerations facing data protection
  • Determine the status and obstacles facing modernization strategies, particularly in remote and hybrid work settings
  • Understand how external tools and internal policies can work together to find the right balance of access and security

The online survey was conducted among 200 state and local IT and business influencers and decision-makers regarding data protection through IT modernization, fielded from March 2023 to April 2023.

For more information visit the website here.

To download the complete Netskope State of Data Protection Survey, visit here.

To learn more about Netskope solutions for State and Local government, visit here.

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