Invest in Solutions That Get Ahead of Cyberattacks
Federal agencies depend on technology systems to carry out operations and to process, maintain and report essential information. These systems are highly complex and dynamic, which increases the difficulty of identifying, managing and protecting their numerous operating systems, applications and devices.
With this greater connectivity, threat actors are increasingly ready and capable of conducting cyberattacks on agencies and critical infrastructure that could be disruptive and destructive.
A significant focus of the GAO’s efforts will be to help Congress assess efforts to address the major cybersecurity challenges facing the nation. This includes establishing and implementing a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy, securing federal agency and critical infrastructure systems from cyberattacks, and protecting private and sensitive data.
Agencies should focus on routinely backing up systems, reinforcing basic cybersecurity awareness and education, and revisiting cyber incident response plans. To safeguard data against loss, corruption and security threats, IT leaders should meet regularly to discuss ongoing data security programs and emerging trends.
In addition, agencies should focus on preparation now rather than reacting after an attack occurs. By investing in solutions that get ahead of attacks with security built into the platform, it is easier to minimize downtime and get systems back online more efficiently and effectively.
New Funding Can Support Oversight of Digital Technology
Changes in technology and reliance on legacy systems have strained the federal infrastructure system. As a result, it can be difficult for agency IT leaders to ensure that their systems are viable, efficient, safe and accessible.
In acknowledgment of these challenges, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was enacted in November 2021. The IIJA includes several new infrastructure programs and significant increases in federal funding for areas such as critical infrastructure and technology.
The GAO is working to ensure effective oversight of this historic increase in infrastructure funding. This includes, among other activities, examining the extent to which federal investments meet their goals and leverage emerging technologies.
IT leaders should seek to understand the technology solutions that will best meet the needs of their agencies and stakeholders. With many different solutions on the market, offer agility and flexible consumption models, allowing agencies to scale up or down without massive disruptions.
These models enable IT leaders to leverage only the digital infrastructure they need at a given time, allowing them to remain innovative and agile for a future that’s difficult to predict.
By creating an individualized path to modernization, agency IT leaders can better deliver services to citizens in more specialized ways and continue to grow in their service capabilities.