The U.S Census Bureau finally decided to go digital in 2016, hoping to streamline the yearly population count. They chose to outsource to Pegasystems Inc. in an effort to save money and digitize faster. Yesterday, Reuters reported serious reliability and security issues, brought to light through interviews with 6 IT professionals affiliated with the project. The project has reportedly gone $40 million over the cost projection presented in 2016, costing the U.S. Census Bureau $167 million and counting.

Over the past few years, the Pegasystems-built website was hacked from an IP address in Russia, who successfully bypassed the system firewall. A domain name service attack was also successfully launched simultaneously. T-Rex Solutions, the security contractor responsible for the new platform came under fire for “lacking adequate forensic capability.” Ouch.

The U.S. Census Bureau website assures the public, “The Census Bureau takes strong precautions to keep online responses secure. All data submitted online are encrypted to protect personal privacy, and our cybersecurity program meets the highest and most recent standards for protecting personal information.”  While they have lofty intentions, the security of your data is only as solid as the security services you choose to protect your systems. It remains to be seen if their current vendors are up to the task.

This isn’t the first time the US government has been plagued with poorly performing digital platforms. Under President Obama, the site, designed to allow people to sign up for Obamacare, was overwhelmed by traffic and suffered from various design flaws, leaving many unable to register for the mandatory service.

There have obviously been some planning fails, but before leaping to judge, these same issues have plagued the APAC region in recent years, with a staggering 35.9% of cyber security events occurring in the region. Famously, both Grab and Club the Chambers suffered crippling breaches in Singapore. Eric Lam, Cybersecurity Director at Microsoft notes that, “…due to the fear of cyberattacks and data breaches, close to 60% of organizations in the region have delayed the progress of their digital transformation projects.”

Those APAC companies who have digitized are also suffering from what Gartner calls a “tendency…for enterprises either to refresh with their incumbent vendor, or to adopt a new vendor without conducting any proof of concept (POC).” As an armchair quarterback, we say that if the U.S. Census Bureau had done their due diligence or had chosen to adopt a better vendor when problems, overages and missed deadlines started arising, they wouldn’t be in this situation. We like to think it’s never too late to reconsider your cybersecurity platform vendor, but if you’ve spent $167 million already, it’s quite tough to throw in the towel. Consider your vendor before you’ve reached the point of no return and demand they show you their worth!

Putting off a digital transformation for fear of data breaches is also a poor approach. With on-demand expectations on the rise, productivity of paramount importance, cyber attackers getting stronger and speed to market becoming more vital, digital transformation is an important step to take before it’s too late.

Why Sangfor?

Cyber threat is a clear and present danger for all businesses and governments. Careful research of vendor capabilities and the ability to cut your losses when your provider is proving to be sub-par, are important components of a successful information technology department. How do you choose the right vendor?

First, see what people are saying. Visit the Sangfor Success Stories site to learn about how the solution you are interested in is being put to work in enterprise, finance & banking, government, education, retail or any other industry. Learn how Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry solved their internet control, APT prevention and firewall maintenance issue were solved using Sangfor’s next generation firewall solution, NGAF. Discover how Chandra Asri Petrochemical implemented Sangfor’s SWG solution IAM to solve their issues with poor network performance and stability.

Founded in 2000 and a publicly traded company as of 2018, Sangfor Technologies is an APAC-based, global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Visit us at to learn more about Sangfor’s network security options, and let Sangfor make your IT simpler, more secure and more valuable.

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