January 4, 2012    /    by

2012 Cybersecurity Trends to Watch in Government

Its that time of year when we ask: where are we heading in regards to cybersecurity in 2012? Also, where have we been?

It’s that time of year when we ask: where are we heading in regards to cybersecurity in 2012? Also, where have we been? Here’s a bit of what I’ve been reading over the past week.

There are plenty of blogs, articles and technology answers to this question. Washington Technology mentions: How you will remember 2011.  William Jackson, who I usually enjoy reading over at Government Computer News, writes about 5 cyber threats (pain points) coming in 2012 and also 3 personal resolutions that you can make to improve security

I can also point to plenty of industry lists available describing upcoming advances in cloud computing, implementing more secure smartphones, or even the coming surge in mobile payments. There are also plenty of threat prediction articles regarding online security, such as this over-arching cyber threat piece from McAfee by my friends over at Government Security News.

In my opinion, most of these lists are fairly predictable, even if they are accurate. In fairness, I’ve written plenty of these pieces in the past, and the lists haven't changed a whole lot from last year. I looked back at my 2008 predictions at CSO Magazine from four years ago, and noticed that all of those items could happen in 2012 as well. (As in 2008, we have another Summer Olympics coming up – this time in London.)

This year, I’d like to focus the question a bit further for government security teams that are prioritizing cybersecurity projects for the coming year.

So what will government cybersecurity teams be working on in 2012 – or what should they seriously consider that may not be on their current “to do” project list? Here’s my list of top cyber projects being worked on:

1)      Advances in Identity Management (Yes, here it is again, and the importance of ID management isn’t going away anytime soon.)

2)      Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

3)      Domain Name Service security (DNSsec)

4)      Next Generation Firewalls

5)      Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions

6)      Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

No, this list is not in priority order, since different enterprises are in different places on these projects. Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence that these projects are all heating up nationwide – if they are not already well underway or implemented for large enterprises. Notice that I provided a link to articles in each area, so you can read more about the current trend if you’d like more background.

A word of warning for state and local governments, if none of these topics/projects are on your government’s security radar screen and/or you have no plans to address these issues, you may be heading for trouble. I realize that many organizations are just putting out cyber fires, dealing with hackers and trying to deal with breaches and daily operations challenges. However, strategic planning needs to be on your agenda for cybersecurity in 2012. I strongly recommend action.

What is your security team working on in 2012?