With President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order adding urgency to requirements for Federal agencies to improve cybersecurity by further implementing core tenets of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program, a new survey from MeriTalk and Elastic finds that the continued rollout of the next generation of CDM dashboard technology will go a long way toward addressing agency security gaps.

That’s the top-line takeaway from the new study, “A View into CDM: Revitalizing Federal Cybersecurity with Dashboard II,” which is based on survey data from attendees at MeriTalk’s CDM Central – the Age of Cyber Defenders virtual conference on May 12.

Followers of the CDM program – which is run by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – have known since 2019, when ECS Federal won the contract to integrate an Elastic solution as the next-gen dashboard, that it’s a key part of the program’s plan to gain security visibility across the entirety of Federal civilian networks, and enable greatly improved security and threat hunting.

But the CDM program’s rollout of the latest dashboard technology hasn’t gone into high gear until recently, according to figures supplied by program leaders this year. From just a handful of installs late last year, CDM officials said in May that dashboards were in place on the Elastic platform across 14 CFO Act agencies. At the same time, five more agencies were in the process of arranging for installation, and another four were in the technical planning and onboarding phase.

MeriTalk’s recent survey results confirm what’s at stake with progress on dashboard rollouts.

Only 23 percent of respondents said in mid-May that they were very confident about the Federal government’s ability to glean actionable insights from cyber data, and more than 90 percent said the next-gen CDM dashboards would improve the government’s ability to do so.

At the same time, 62 percent of respondents said that Federal agencies are not doing enough to take advantage of CDM dashboard capabilities.

When asked what is holding agencies back, the top replies included: lack of standardization in data collection and aggregation; lack of information sharing between agencies; poor data quality; the complexities of data management; and slow adoption of the next-gen CDM dashboard.

Problem, meet solution. The cavalry – in the form of increased dashboard rollouts – is arriving in force, and just in time to help the CDM program and the Federal agencies that rely on it meet the increased demands of government cybersecurity efforts.

For the complete story, please access the full survey findings here.

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MeriTalk Staff