A recent roundtable discussion in Washington, DC with Federal IT and Cyber leaders focused on the business drivers, challenges and evolving strategies around cybersecurity in government.  After an opening presentation by Jim Quinn, the lead systems engineer for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program at the Department of Homeland Security, the discussion highlighted the need for data security. Key takeaways included:A new emphasis on data-level security across government that puts security controls closer to the data itself, rather than focusing on the perimeter.The urgency around data security is increasing, with 71 percent of agencies having been breached, which is a threefold increase from three years ago.Need to deal with an expanding requirement to add more and more capabilities to mission systems with the understanding that protecting data is part of the mission.Agencies that only focus their time, energy and budget on meeting various mandates are having trouble keeping up with evolving cyber threats.While agencies have much flexibility in how they acquire, manage and deliver information and services, they are still responsible for protecting their data. Agencies must, therefore, approach data security at the enterprise level.Data security is a matter of law. 44 U.S.C., Sec. 3542 directs agencies to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, andavailability of government data. As I’ve written many times before, organizations need to focus on how to transition to a hybrid IT future.  The overall information technology marketplace is also undergoing these dramatic shifts toward data-centric security.  Data management has moved from the management of structured data into an environment where real-time analysis and reporting of streaming data is essential. International commerce is also entering an environment of stricter data management regulations and national data sovereignty laws that, if violated, introduce the possibility of punishing remedies and fines. This rapid progression has also driven a massive change in information

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