Survey shows identity management important, but challenging for U.S. Federal IT leaders

Identity management solutions are a “very important” measure for addressing growing cybersecurity threats against government agencies, almost two-thirds (64 percent) of U.S. Federal IT leaders say, according to a survey sponsored by Unisys Corporation. Despite this, only 20 percent of respondents are using biometrics to verify identity, and only 40 percent are using the “principle of least privilege.”

The “Digital Trust” survey, conducted by Market Connections, also shows that nearly all agencies use identity management systems, but only 16 percent say the systems are fully automated and integrated.

Budget limitations are a “significant” or “moderate” challenge to identity management systems deployment for 70 percent of those surveyed, while lack of skilled staff (60 percent) and lack of adequate IT infrastructure (59 percent) are also commonly considered significant or moderate challenges.

“This survey shows that the overwhelming majority of federal IT leaders understand the value of identity management technology and the role it can play in helping them to address the growing security threats their agencies face,” said Venkatapathi “PV” Puvvada, president of Unisys Federal. “But it also illustrates the need for agencies to take additional steps to address challenges related to budgets, support staff and infrastructure. There also remains a huge opportunity for agencies to improve their security by fully automating their identity management systems and implementing biometrics-based solutions.”

Cybersecurity threats will increase this year, 71 percent of Federal IT leaders expect, and while 34 percent say their agency’s security posture has improved over the past year, 25 percent say they are more vulnerable, and 41 percent say that their security posture has not changed. Smart cards and common access cards are the most commonly used security tools (78 percent), followed by endpoint security software (60 percent), and configuration management software (58 percent).

As previously reported, the U.S. Department of Defense plans to replace its Common Access Card with an identity management system with increased biometrics capabilities.

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