Google says government workers want diversity in their productivity software

Microsoft Teams on an iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock - Natee Meepian)

When it comes to cybersecurity, the US government not only has legacy systems - it also has a legacy mindset, a new survey has found.

Google Cloud surveyed US government workers on the state of cybersecurity and found many feel their employer is lacking when it comes to security protection.

The survey, which polled 2,600 working Americans, found the majority of those employed in government agencies were “very” concerned about cyberattacks and malware. Furthermore, almost a third of government workers in the D.C. metro area experienced a disruption at work, because of one such incident. The majority believe a cyberattack against an institution of the federal government was likely. 

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All of this had the majority (80%) increasingly worried about their privacy and data, as well as that of their closest family members.

Single vendors and shadow IT

More than half (50%) were dissatisfied with legacy software, claiming there were better options out there. Almost all (84%) of D.C. metro government employees primarily use the products from Microsoft’s productivity suite and Office (Word, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, etc.).

The report also states that the idea that having a single software vendor somehow makes the organization safer is misplaced. More than half of the respondents said the government’s reliance on Microsoft made it more vulnerable.

“These new findings not only speak to the challenges our government employees face, but also outline an opportunity for improved innovation and security that can help government employees better achieve their missions,” Jeanette Manfra, Senior Director, Global Risk and Compliance, at Google Cloud, wrote in a blog post.

The only reason why the government doesn’t diversify its software stack is inertia, the employees believe. The majority simply wish to retain the status quo. Those that do want better software, are often forced to adopt “shadow IT”, opening up new avenues for cyber-risk.

In fact, report states more than a third (35%) of D.C. metro government workers have used shadow IT to get their jobs done, jumping to 41% among workers aged 20 - 34.

All of this makes one thing clear, Google concludes: it may be time for the government to rethink its approach to procurement.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.