The public sector is a cyberattack magnet, manual processes are to blame

More than half (51%) of respondents said their security teams spend more time on manual processes than handling vulnerabilities, according to a Tenable and Ponemon report.

How IT automation can help fill tech talent gaps At the 2018 Gartner Symposium, Frank Melchiorre of Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. explained the benefits of enterprise IT automation.

Cyberattacks are pervading the public sector: 88% of public sector organizations have faced at least one cyberattack over the past two years, according to a Tenable and Ponemon report released on Tuesday. Some 62% of organizations said they experienced two or more, the report added.

SEE: Information security policy template download (Tech Pro Research)

Some 65% of public sector professionals are most concerned about attacks on target operation technology (OT) infrastructure and Internet of Things (IoT) assets, the report found; this concern is warranted, with nearly half (46%) of these organizations experiencing attacks involving OT or IoT.

"This data reveals that the threats to critical infrastructure are no longer theoretical; they have become a stark reality that organizations need to address today," said Eitan Goldstein, senior director of strategic initiatives at Tenable, said in the press release.

The main reason the public sector are consistent victims of cyberattacks is because of manual processes, the report found. Some 56% of respondents said their organizations are at a disadvantage for handling vulnerabilities because they are using manual processes. And 51% said security teams spend more time on manual processes than responding to security issues—causing major backlog, the report added.

Organizations are looking to automation to help prevent attacks and better manage vulnerabilities. More than half (55%) said they're in the process of deploying or planning to launch AI and machine learning solutions within the next two years, the report said.

Automation has proven successful in many industries. Sales teams, for example, consistently use automation to complete marketing, sales, and billing tasks on one platform. AI is also helpful in the healthcare industry for tracking data and allowing healthcare professionals to spend more time with the patient.

Check out this TechRepublic article to learn more about how automation can help an organization's cybersecurity efforts.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • The majority (88%) of public sector organizations experience at least one cyberattack every couple years. — Ponemon and Tenable, 2019
  • 56% of organizations blame manual processes for their inability to properly handle security vulnerabilities. — Ponemon and Tenable, 2019

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