Budget constraints weigh heavier on IT infrastructure than cyber attacks

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Budget constraints outweigh cyber attacks as the largest threat to information technology infrastructure, finds a nonscientific poll of federal, state and local IT officials.

The survey (.pdf), conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Clarus Research Group at the behest of Cisco through telephone and online interviews in early September, shows that 35 percent of subjects selected "budget constraints" as the greatest IT infrastructure threat, versus just 17 percent that selected "cyber attacks."

Coincidentally, budget instability is a subject of the moment, with the government in its third day of shutdown due to failure by Congress to approve a spending measure for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

An Oct. 1 analysis of the effect of a shutdown by IDC Government Insights concludes that a shutdown would have to last more than 2 weeks for it to have more than a minimal impact on IT operations.

During the shutdown, furloughed employees who maintain nonessential systems mostly likely won't be present to fix them should they develop problems. "In some cases, systems remain operational, but they will be shut down if problems are detected," writes Research Director Shawn McCarthy.

Should the shutdown last a month, it could have a moderate impact on operations "and some additional IT system shutdowns may be seen," he adds.

Many of the companies that run federal IT systems are paid on monthly, quarterly or annual increments, McCarthy also notes, meaning that they will begin to feel the pinch of a shutdown only if its drags on--which it has the appearance of doing so.

For more:
- download the survey results (.pdf)
- read Shawn McCarthy's analysis

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