Cybersecurity – you can’t escape the criticality of the issue if you work in government IT. It’s become one of those terms that is instantly recognizable, yet at the same time somewhat amorphous. There are many different ways to approach cybersecurity – technical, legal, procedural and even theoretical.

You don’t need to be an IT professional to grasp that robust cybersecurity measures are needed to protect sensitive data, especially like personally identifiable information and classified information. But the understanding of cybersecurity has started to evolve away from an auditing and perimeter defense perspective to a continuous monitoring climate in which there is an acknowledgement that data breaches will occur. The challenge is to build into networks resiliency and security so the negative effects of cyber attacks can be minimized.

GovDataDownload devoted numerous articles this year to the cybersecurity challenges facing government agencies. See below for our three most widely read posts in 2014 on cybersecurity, helping IT professionals frame the challenge and learn from proven best practices.

Federal agencies were the target of 46,160 cyber attacks in 2013 – an increase of 33 percent over 2012 according to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). NetApp and GovExec surveyed 155 officials across DoD, GS-11 and up, to find out how they are dealing with cyber threats and big data analytics. The results are listed here in this popular GovDataDownload story.

In October GovDataDownload spoke with Lee Vorthman, NetApp’s chief security architect about the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cyber Security Framework. The Framework was over a year in development and is a tool for assessing and improving the cybersecurity posture of enterprises in 16 industries considered critical infrastructure to our country. These include defense, energy, transportation, communications and health, among others. You can listen to our podcast with Vorthman here.

Finally, 2014 saw a lot of discussion about the Internet of Things. According to ABI Research, the number of active wirelessly connected devices grew 20 percent from 2013 to 2014 and that number is expected to grow to 40.9 billion by 2021. To get more insight into these staggering numbers, GovDataDownload talked to Dr. Greg Gardner, NetApp’s chief architect for government, defense, and Intel solutions for the U.S. Public Sector. In our interview Dr. Gardner focused on the proliferation of devices that are connecting to the Internet today, from wearable devices to connected clothes, cars, and household appliances. The sheer volume of connected devices such as these, as well as the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that are used to monitor and control critical infrastructure, such as an industrial plant, opens up a myriad of threat possibilities. Click here for the podcast.

Wishing you all a safe holiday season, and a secure 2015!