COVID exposes security weaknesses among US states

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 19 October, 2020

COVID exposes security weaknesses among US states

Research commissioned by the US National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) has confirmed that there has been a widespread increase in public sector employees left working from home due to COVID-19.

The Deloitte-conducted research found that 35 of 50 states now have more than half of government employees working from home, with nine having more 90% of employees working remotely.

By comparison, prior to the pandemic, 52% of state and territory CIO respondents said less than 5% of staff worked remotely.

The report also found that COVID-19 has challenged continuity and amplified gaps in budget, talent and threats. It has laid bare the fact that fewer than 40% of states have a dedicated budget line item for cybersecurity, and half of states still allocate less than 3% of their total IT budgets to cybersecurity.

Yet state CISOs identified financial fraud as three times greater of a threat as they did in 2018, and respondents overall believe the probability of a security breach in the next 12 months has increased over this time.

“The last six months have created new opportunities for cyber threats and amplified existing cybersecurity challenges for state governments,” NASCIO Director of Policy and Research Meredith Ward commented.

“The budget and talent challenges experienced in recent years have only grown, and CISOs are now also faced with an acceleration of strategic initiatives to address threats associated with the pandemic.”

Image credit: © Pokrovsky

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