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U.S. Public Sector Firms Up Security Stance as Threats Grow

State, local and educational organizations adopt new tools, approaches to combat ransomware, other dangers, ISG Provider Lens™ report says

The U.S. public sector continues to sharpen its focus on cybersecurity measures in response to the rising global cost and impact of cyberattacks, according to a new research report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Cybersecurity — Solutions and Services report for the U.S. Public Sector finds that state, local and educational (SLED) organizations, despite having lower profiles than the federal government, are still in significant danger. In 2022, ransomware attacks, among the most common threats, declined in number but grew more sophisticated, the report says. Local governments that suffered security breaches faced an average of five months of downtime.

“The U.S. public sector is a major target of cybercriminals,” said Nathan Frey, partner and lead, ISG Public Sector, for the U.S. “Agencies need to take an integrated approach, often in partnership with providers, to assure constituents that their data is safe.”

In addition to increasingly advanced ransomware operations, which have forced agencies to strengthen data backup and recovery, SLED organizations face ongoing threats from internal errors and sabotage, while rapid cloud migration requires them to implement new protection measures, the report says.

A growing number of U.S. public entities are responding to new dangers by implementing zero-trust frameworks for protecting data and IT assets, ISG says. Shifting from traditional perimeter-based strategies to this approach, which challenges all users and devices attempting to access agency resources, has proved a complex migration for agencies and universities with a mix of private and government-issued devices.

U.S. government organizations face particular difficulties assigning ownership of cybersecurity, the report says. Each agency’s structure tends to be different from others, but there is a common need for agency leaders to take responsibility for cybersecurity investments and outcomes, which can affect both internal and constituents’ data, even in agencies that have a chief information security officer (CISO), ISG says.

��Public agencies need to be proactive at all levels to counter increasing threats,” said Jan Erik Aase, partner and global leader, ISG Provider Lens Research. “The whole organization needs to have security-minded attitude.”

The report also explores other cybersecurity trends in the U.S. public sector, including the growing adoption of edge computing, extended detection and response (XDR) solutions and advanced identity and access management (IAM).

For more insights into the cybersecurity challenges facing the U.S. public sector and advice on how to address them, including working more closely with cloud services providers, see the ISG Provider Lens™ Focal Points briefing here.

The 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Cybersecurity — Solutions and Services report for the U.S. Public Sector evaluates the capabilities of 77 providers across six quadrants: Identity and Access Management, Extended Detection and Response (XDR), Security Service Edge (SSE), Technical Security Services, Strategic Security Services and Managed Security Services – SOC.

The report names IBM as a Leader in five quadrants. It names Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, Eviden (Atos), EY and Infosys as Leaders in three quadrants each. Broadcom, HCLTech, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, Unisys and Verizon Business are named as Leaders in two quadrants each. Cato Networks, Cisco, CrowdStrike, Forcepoint, Fortinet, KPMG, Leidos, ManageEngine, Netskope, Okta, RSA, SailPoint, Secureworks, SentinelOne, Trend Micro, Versa Networks, VMware and Zscaler are named as Leaders in one quadrant each.

In addition, HPE (Aruba), KPMG, Saviynt and Wipro are named as Rising Stars — companies with a “promising portfolio” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition — in one quadrant each.

The 2023 ISG Provider Lens™ Cybersecurity — Solutions and Services report for the U.S. Public Sector is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.

About ISG Provider Lens™ Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, the U.K., France, Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, the Nordics, Australia and Singapore/Malaysia, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 900 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,600 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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