One in Four Government Agencies Reported Accidental Cloud Data Leakage in 2020

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Netwrix, a cybersecurity vendor that makes data security easy, announced government industry findings from its global 2021 Netwrix Cloud Data Security Report which found that detecting and resolving data leakage is a top security challenge for public sector organizations.

The survey found that in 2020, the most common incidents that government agencies experienced in the cloud were phishing (reported by 39% of organizations), accidental data leakage (24%) and targeted attacks on the infrastructure (22%). Data leakage was the hardest of the three to detect; 27% of organizations required days to flag it, while phishing and targeted attacks were spotted in hours or less by almost 100% of organizations. Resolving data leakage also took longer than other incidents, requiring days (32%), weeks (11%) or months (23%).

The top consequences of cloud breaches in the public sector were unplanned expenses to fix security gaps (28%), customer churn and/or loss of credibility (13%) and change in senior leadership (11%).

Most government agencies attribute their cloud security challenges to lack of IT/security staff (65%), employee negligence (59%) and lack of budget (53%). Indeed, only 24% of public organizations received extra budget for cybersecurity even though in our 2019 survey, 45% expected their budget to grow in 2020. On average, public sector organizations allocate only 14% of their cybersecurity budget to cloud security, which is the lowest result for any sector.

Other survey findings include:

  • Despite government initiatives encouraging cloud adoption and the recent increase in remote work, half of public sector organizations do not store any data in the cloud.
  • In response to the pandemic, 47% had to change their IT priorities but stick to their existing budget.
  • The top security measures government agencies are taking in response to cloud security challenges are auditing of user activity (65%), data classification (56%) and privilege attestation (53%).

“Cloud technologies may raise security concerns that make the public sector wary of leveraging the cloud to improve the services they provide. To adopt cloud technologies more confidently and with fewer risks, government agencies need solutions that deliver visibility into data, activity and risks across the cloud or hybrid environment. That way, these organizations will be able to quickly detect, prioritize and respond to threats across the IT estate,” said Ilia Sotnikov, VP of Product Management at Netwrix.

The 2021 Netwrix Cloud Data Security Report is based on feedback from 937 IT professionals worldwide who use private and public cloud services to store their data. To get the complete findings, please visit www.netwrix.com/2021_cloud_data_security_report.html.

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Taylor Graham