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Survey of US Government professionals on Identity Management.

Quest Software : 04 March, 2008  (Technical Article)
Compliance madate survey regarding identity management amongst IT professionals in the US Government reveals the importance of the topic growing over the coming 5 years.
Quest Software has announced the results of its Identity Management Government Survey of federal, state, local and municipal government IT professionals conducted by Pursuant, a Washington, D.C.-based public opinion research firm.

The research, commissioned by Quest Software, reveals new and significant data on government IT professionals' perceptions on the progress of compliance with mandates such as HSPD-12, FIPS 201, and FISMA, the barriers to success, and the impact on national security, critical public infrastructure, and personal security.

"The survey casts necessary attention on the complex business and technology challenges confronting government agencies as they work to achieve identity management requirements, which will only increase in importance," said Scott Hastings, partner at Deep Water Point and former CIO of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice. "To bolster their business cases, government IT professionals must employ solutions that address the entire enterprise and demonstrate incremental progress in security and privacy enhancements that generate real operational benefits."

The survey indicates that although most government IT professionals (69%) believe that identity management is "very important" to their organization or agency, even more overwhelmingly believe its importance will increase (72%) in the next five years. A large majority of government IT professionals report that their organization or agency has complied with the following steps: secured information systems (76%), secured personnel information (72%), and secured access to facilities (75%).

About 35% of government IT professionals project that their organization or agency will be compliant with government identity management mandates within the next two years, while 37% report that they "don't know" when their organization or agency will be compliant. This response may reflect the challenges inherent in the complexity of the requirements and the difficulty experienced by respondents in juggling ongoing and unfunded identity management efforts with existing priorities.

Additional key findings of the Identity Management Government Survey include:.

* A heterogeneous (mixed-application) environment is "very challenging" or "somewhat challenging" according to 51% for their organization or agency's identity management system.
* According to a majority (53%) of respondents, national security should be the priority, even if Americans' personal privacy is negatively impacted.
* Respondents cited lack of funding as the main obstacle that would most impact their organisation or agency's ability to reach their identity management objectives (31%). During the next five years, many (45%) think the amount budgeted for identity management projects and services will increase; very few (5%) think it will decrease.
* However, half of respondents (50%) believe Congress should provide more funding to agencies to develop and implement identity management systems; a nearly equal number (49%) believe it should require greater planning and collaboration among federal agencies and state and local governments.
* More city, county and municipal government IT professionals are likely to be "very concerned" (59%) about compromised critical public infrastructure than federal (45%) or state (38%) government IT professionals.
* Over one-half of government IT professionals (56%) have either personally seen or heard about someone violating their organization or agency's security protocols.

"The Identity Management Government Survey reveals that the runway for government agencies is getting shorter and shorter, and this critical security concern cannot await a utopian solution," said Paul Garver, vice president of Public Sector, Quest Software. "The most significant measure government agencies can take today is to leverage prevalent infrastructure investments, such as Microsoft Active Directory, to serve as a centralized identity repository and immediately begin working towards single/reduced sign-on."
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