While the media portrays the impact the shutdown is having on our government run parks and memorials, the bigger threat the shutdown could have is being largely ignored. The shutdown in itself could harm the IT security of several federal agencies if not fixed soon.
If the shutdown lasts for more than a few days, it will surely test the capacity in which the federal agencies affected will be able to protect their information systems against security threats.
There have been several agencies that are being affected that have put together emergency plans to deal with some of the negative impacts the shutdown will have on their IT security.
For example, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stated that it will furlough more than 40% of its IT employees in the event of the shutdown. The IT professionals who will be able to work will have to be responsible for a variety of functions such as network maintenance and protection, information security and for keeping the data center and enterprise infrastructure running.
Another example is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development which asked all but a small margin of its almost 9,000 employees to go on furlough. Of those employees remaining, which is a small number, they will be responsible for keeping critical systems running and protecting them against security threats.
Most other federal agencies are expected to have a similar handful of IT security staff and other essential personnel to run infrastructure operations.
The impact the shutdown is having on IT security is clearly evident amongst a large group of federal agencies who count on IT professionals to protect their agencies against harmful security threats. Not having the funds or employees in place to monitor and actively prevent the agencies databases could prove to be immensely harmful.
Having only a small number of IT professionals on board to handle the threats the US government agencies gets on a daily basis could prove to be detrimental to the agencies and the data it holds. What many in the media have failed to mention is that the IT professionals employed at these agencies are also being furloughed and with that comes and even bigger threat to the IT security of the countries federal agencies. Time will tell what the impact will be on the IT security of these agencies but we are hoping the issue gets resolved sooner than later for the sake of the federal agencies and the data they need to protect.