Federal IT Leaders Struggling to Meet Digital Identity Challenge, Suggests Unisys Survey

IT leaders in the US government see digital identity as a critical component of security, but are concerned about keeping pace with digital threats. That’s the overall takeaway from a Unisys-commissioned survey of 200 such individuals in the federal government.Federal IT Leaders Struggling to Meet Digital Identity Challenge, Suggests Unisys Survey

Sixty-four percent of respondents said that identity management solutions were “very important” in fighting digital security threats, but only 40 percent said they were practicing the “principle of least privilege” and ensuring that users could only access the IT assets needed for their particular jobs, and a mere 20 percent were using biometrics for authentication.

Those are missed opportunities, but the latter, at least, could be addressed soon for many: A recent Unisys forecast predicted that biometric authentication will go mainstream over the coming year, and the Department of Defense Information Systems Agency has been working hard to establish a replacement for the ubiquitous Common Access Card that uses multi-factor authentication including biometrics. With such card-based solutions being the most widely used security tools among respondents (78 percent), the introduction of a multi-factor biometric replacement could be a game-changing security development.

Such efforts are going to be increasingly important, it seems, with 71 percent of survey respondents indicating that they expect digital threats to increase this year, while only 34 percent said their security posture had strengthened over the past year.