The past 16 months have tested IT and security teams like never before. Federal agencies were greatly impacted by the rapid shift to remote work and continued evolution of their IT environment.
Axonius partnered with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and MeriTalk to survey IT and security professionals from the private sector and Department of Defense (DOD) to see how the pandemic-induced remote work impacted IT complexity and reshaped security priorities.
We found a number of asset management trends impacting federal IT and security teams.
Trend No. 1: End-user Asset Visibility Remains a Challenge
Our report found that a majority of the respondents across the private sector and DOD reported gaps between what they can see and what they would like to see. Seventy-five percent of private sector organizations reported end-user device visibility gaps, compared to 74% of DOD respondents.
The ability to see all the devices, users, and software on agency networks is crucial for any agency looking to embrace a Zero Trust model. You can’t make good decisions about who and what can access which applications and data, when you lack visibility into the assets on the network.
In addition to Zero Trust implications, the survey found that organizations that eliminated visibility gaps saw a reduction in security incidents.
Trend No. 2: BYOD Arrives For the DOD
Last year’s sudden shift to mostly remote work forced many agencies to open up BYOD access for their staff. In agencies we talk with, there were anecdotal reports of staff who were unable to retrieve their agency-issued devices when their offices were shut down and went to Best Buy to purchase a computer to continue their work.
In the survey we asked respondents about the return to work. A majority of respondents (63%) reported that there was still work to be done to prepare for the return to work. An interesting trend emerged when we compared the top priorities between the DOD and private sector. DOD respondents were much more likely to report that they plan to update their BYOD policies as part of the return to work.
BYOD had become more of the norm in the private sector in general, so when the pandemic forced many to go remote, they were better prepared. As the DOD returns to the office, it’s evident that they plan to reevaluate their stance on BYOD.
While DOD and private sector respondents both identify a need to evaluate IAM, DoD teams are much more likely to update their BYOD policies before staff returns to the office.
Trend No. 3: DOD Cloud Adoption Hits a Tipping Point
The survey uncovered that the DOD hit 2 interesting milestones with respect to cloud adoption. The first reported milestone was that a majority (53%) of DOD infrastructure is now hosted on the cloud. It’s clear that cloud-focused initiatives in federal agencies are driving an increase in cloud adoption. In fact, 96% of DOD respondents reported having at least some cloud infrastructure.
The second interesting cloud data is that the DOD has pulled even with the private sector in terms of overall cloud adoption. Both reported 53% of their infrastructure was in the cloud. For years there has been the perception that federal agencies were reluctant to adopt the cloud, but clearly the DOD is helping that perception to change.
Download the Federal Edition of the “Cybersecurity Asset Management Trends 2021: How the Rapid Shift to Remote Work Impacted IT Complexity and Post-pandemic Security Priorities” report to take a deep dive into how the pandemic impacted IT complexity and reshaped security priorities.