A majority of U.S. federal agencies (81%) say they are using big data analytics for cyber security in some capacity, according to a report by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT.

The report, underwritten by data management and analytics platform provider Cloudera, shows that 53% of the 150 agencies surveyed online in July 2016 are using big data analytics as a part of their overall cyber security strategy and 28% are using it in a limited capacity.

Still, data breaches continue to afflict agencies, with 59% of the respondents saying their agency deals with a cyber security compromise at least once a month due to their inability to fully analyze data.

Nearly nine on 10 Federal agencies face challenges drawing cyber security intelligence from data, and the majority say the task has become more difficult in the past two years. Fewer than half of those using big data analytics for cyber security say they trust their efforts to be highly effective.

Among the top challenges are the sheer volume of cyber security data; the fact that agencies don’t have the right systems in place to gather the cyber security information they need; and the issue of information no longer being timely when it makes it to cyber security managers.

“Agencies face a perfect storm of cyber security threats,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk. “When you're headed into troubled waters, you need a weather forecast. Big data provides agencies with the visibility” they need.

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