Cybersecurity and Digital Identity Management in Government

Cybersecurity and Identity Management Trends in Government


The federal government continues to rely on online and digitized services. Government agencies access and process personal and other sensitive information. However, cybersecurity challenges affecting the security of critical information and infrastructure continue to be a thorn in the flesh.

In a bid to ensure information security, the government is currently leveraging on the following trends to strengthen identity management and cybersecurity for government:

  1. Securing identity

With numerous cases surrounding identity theft being a daily topic for most media outlets, the government has shifted its cybersecurity focus on the user/human aspect. Most attacks are executed through stolen credentials, where adversaries use them to access government databases. Although different authentication measures are still preferred to identify users, there is a growing need for the establishment and development of strong identity access management. These are needed to ascertain the legitimacy of a user, as credentials alone are not enough.

  1. Cybersecurity frameworks

As information and communication technologies advance, public safety is at risk and faces challenges from increased requirements for identity, credential, and access management. Canada establishes a working and learning group for identity, credential, and access management (ICAM). Policies are developed to address the implementation of ICAM for federal agencies.

Canada maintains a National Cyber Security Strategy that features the country’s vision for security and prosperity in the digital age. In 2010, the Government of Canada launched a national effort to defend against numerous threats with Canada’s first cybersecurity strategy. The approach offers confidence to proceed with the adoption of technologies in the digital age. Canada views cybersecurity as the companion to innovation and protector of cybersecurity.

  1. Enforcing policy targeting specific companies

Policy development banning the importation of technological capabilities into the Canadian borders is one of the government’s latest approaches to cybersecurity. For instance, the Canadian Government has recently stated that its 5G decision will hinge on security considerations and the advice of government experts. The government, in some cases, considers the geopolitical impact in deciding on whether to ban companies such as Huawei Technologies. These measures are enforced to safeguard Canada’s national security.

Are Cybersecurity Challenges Impeding Digital Transformations?

Despite the obvious positive impacts of disruptive technologies such as 5G and IoT, many industries may wait longer to benefit from digital transformations. Security challenges, especially in government, have been derailing efforts to transition to newer technologies.

Protecting Sensitive Data is Crucial for Government Agencies

Tools for executing attacks are readily available, resulting in a rise of cybercrimes that threaten the economic well-being of Canada. They extend to all industries, where victims incur devastating financial losses while recovering and restoring impacted systems. Security challenges persist in the changing technological landscape since organizations must upgrade cybersecurity systems to adapt to emerging risks. Start-ups are increasingly vulnerable; cyber incidents have largely contributed to complete financial ruins regardless of business sizes. Here’s how.

The profound impacts of cyber-attacks destabilize critical services. For example, customers are less likely to trust financial institutions that were recently breached, and loss of customers results in diminishing revenues. On the other hand, the government’s inability to solve persistent security challenges leads to hesitations in adopting and using newer technologies. What if transitioning operations purely to 5G and IoT will cause insurmountable cyber risks? Such concerns discourage organizations across the divide from adopting them.

Moreover, the government is a high-value target for cyber-attacks as it is a rich source of personal and financial information such as social security numbers and credit cards. These data types have been identified to be top motivators behind most breaches. Besides, CISO’s across the country have indicated that governments are making little investments in cybersecurity, despite it being a highly targeted sector. Perhaps one of the underlying reasons why security problems are rife in government is the little effort made to attract and retain top talent. Emerging technologies require talented individuals backed with sufficient resources to identify new and existing threats so as to innovate superior solutions. Until the government adequately addresses the challenges cutting across all industries, adopting disruptive technologies may remain a far-fetched call for most enterprises.

Addressing the challenges

The following table indicates the recommended measures for addressing the aforementioned challenges:


Recommended mitigations

Establishing a strong/comprehensive cybersecurity framework


·       Develop a comprehensive strategy for achieving national cybersecurity and a secure cyberspace

·       Deploy measures for mitigating global supply chains

Ensuring the security of federal information and systems


·       Strengthen the implementation procedures for government cybersecurity initiatives

·       Identify and address security flaws in information security procedures

·       Enhance response plans to cyber events

Securing critical infrastructure


·       Strengthen the roles and abilities of the government to protect critical infrastructures

Ensuring data privacy



·       Apply regulations developed to ensure data privacy and security

·       Restrict the acquisition and processing of personal information.

About ISA Cybersecurity

ISA is Canada’s leading pure-play cybersecurity organization committed to helping clients achieve their security needs and to stay ahead of cyber threats. With over twenty-seven years’ experience assisting diverse organizations to overcome sophisticated cybersecurity challenges, ISA is revolutionizing cybersecurity through service delivery and technology integrations to enable clients to maximize the value of their technologies while ensuring the safety of their assets.

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