Snowden aftermath: Defense contractors revamp policies, practices

Summary:Following the Edward Snowden wake-up call, three in four defense contractors have already made significant changes in their IT security and hiring practices.

security-620-465

Both the volume and the sensitivity of the information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has compelled US defense contractors to drastically overhaul their hiring practices and reevaluate employees' data access privileges.

The new study conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of security software provider ThreatTrack Security found that 75 percent of IT and security managers employed by defense contractors have changed their cybersecurity processes in a variety of ways.

Of the 100 respondents, 41 percent said they've implemented stricter hiring practices and 39 percent acknowledged that their own IT administrative rights have been restricted.

The depth and breadth of the Snowden leaks were also a wake-up call to enterprise companies who understand and appreciate the immense value of the intellectual property housed and accessed on their corporate networks.

"It's interesting to note that while defense contractors seem to have better security practices in place and are more transparent than many companies in the private sector, they are finding the current cyber threat onslaught just as difficult to deal with," said ThreatTrack Security CEO Julian Waits, Sr., in the report.

Fifty-five percent of defense contractors are now providing more general cybersecurity awareness training to their employees and 52 percent have reviewed or reevaluated employees' data access privileges.

It doesn't help, contractors said, that it's become increasingly difficult to find and hire qualified security staffers at a time when new threats are multiplying at an exponential rate.

Twenty-six percent of contractors said there was a shortage of "highly skilled" security personnel on staff and their existing IT security team is routinely torn between resolving new malware sample analyses and cleaning malware off executives' devices.

Topics: Security, Enterprise Software, Government

About

Larry Barrett is a freelance journalist and blogger who has covered the information technology and business sectors for more than 15 years. Most recently, he served as the online news editor for 1105 Media's Office Technology Group and as the online managing editor for SourceMedia's Investment Advisory Group publications Financial Pl... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.