A new survey found that most federal cybersecurity executives don’t believe multiple efforts at improving federal cybersecurity thus far are having a substantial effect, according to a report from (ISC)2, an IT security training and certification nonprofit.
About 65% of the 54 federal cyber executives surveyed said they did not think the federal government would be able to detect an ongoing attack.
More than half of the respondents said they did not think last year's Cybersecurity Sprint worked in trying to improve federal information security.
The survey included cyber executives from across defense, intelligence and civilian agencies and contractors.
Respondents said funding is the greatest obstacle they face to improving cybersecurity, followed by a lack of knowledge and lack of accountability, the report found.
Respondents did, however, see some light at the end of the tunnel. Most indicated that the White House-issued Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which includes hiring a federal chief information security officer, has potential to make a difference, especially in the area of accountability.
But David Shearer, chief executive officer of (ISC)2, said it will depend on how the new CISO’s role is defined. "It’s unclear how much control they’ll have," said Shearer.
Federal cyber leaders surveyed also expressed concern about the lack of cyber talent. The struggle to attract cybersecurity talent to the federal government has been an ongoing battle. A memo authored last month by Beth Cobert, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, said federal government cybersecurity remains an "at risk" career field. And the Department of Homeland Security recently revealed it is having a difficult time recruiting cybersecurity experts. Though DHS has the authority to hire up to 1,000 cybersecurity workers by June 30, the department is struggling to attract qualified workers.