News Feature | June 19, 2015

How Big Data Analytics Can Improve Cybersecurity For Your Government IT Clients

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Government IT Big Data Analytics

Government cybersecurity professionals estimate that cyber threats exist on government networks for an average of 16 days before being detected and neutralized, according to a report from MeriTalk.

The “Go Big Security” report, underwritten by Splunk. reveals 86 percent of these pros also say that Big Data analytics could help improve cybersecurity. The study also shows, however, only 28 percent are currently fully leveraging Big Data for security purposes.

According to the survey, 90 percent of respondents stated that they currently work with incomplete cybersecurity data, and, as a result, 76 percent report taking a reactive rather than a proactive approach to security.

With Big Data and analytics government cybersecurity professionals say they could better detect a breach already in progress (61 percent); monitor streams of data in real time (51 percent); and conduct a conclusive root-causes analysis after a breach (49 percent). 

Part of the problem is the vast volume of data agencies deal with on a daily basis. In fact, 45 percent of federal IT managers say data volume is the greatest challenge to fully leveraging Big Data analytics for cybersecurity. Meanwhile, 54 percent of state and local government IT managers cite lack of resources and skilled personnel, and 78 percent of all government cyber security pros cite lack of time and/or skill of their team as the greatest obstacle to implementing Big Data analytics.

This report highlights the need to transcend compliance and embrace risk management, which is crucial to improving security outcomes.  “Moving from compliance to risk management is a mindset shift,” explained Steve O’Keefe, founder of MeriTalk.  “Agencies need to think about ‘Big Security’ alongside Big Data. CDOs need to be on the court. Data is the MVP.”

The “Go Big Security” report is based on an online survey of 302 Federal, state, and local government cyber security professionals conducted in March 2015.