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Cyber Security - Five Key Challenges

In addressing the importance of cyber security as a government priority in testimony before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee last fall, Vivek Kundra, the Federal Chief Information Officer, said:

"Our Nation's security and economic prosperity depend on the stability and integrity of our Federal communications and information infrastructure." Federal News Radio has reportedthat the federal government will spend $8.3 billion on computer security this year - marking a 60% increase in four years. As Federal information security decision-makers allocate dollars and resources to protect our infrastructure, it is important to prioritize the key challenges they face. These include:

    1. Increased use of mobile devices.Mobile devices are becoming smaller and faster every day. Agencies face even more challenges as mobile applications have now become widely used and they are even looking to build their own mobile applications to increase their productivity in the field.
    2. Continued movement of data into the cloud. Cloud computing has become a pervasive buzzword but in the end, risk stems from a matter of oversight and control. Agencies must rely on strong governance and compliance oversight of their service providers since they do not own or control the systems where their data resides.
    3. Changing regulatory environment. NIST has undergone sweeping changes across their Special Publications by introducing a new Risk Management Framework and introducing new nomenclature such as "Security Authorization." OMB continues to press their performance metrics as a part of the FISMA reporting process and could see some changes in the next 9 months.
    4. Application security. Attackers have now moved their focus from the network and infrastructure level to the application layer. We're seeing more attacks proliferated through applications such as Adobe and web browsers but some high profile data breaches stemmed from custom web applications through SQL injection attacks.
    5. Developing/maturing offensive capabilities. "Understanding the offensive to build the defensive" has become the mantra for today's cyber security efforts. The ability to understand the mindset of an attacker and their methods becomes critical in building defenses that focus on these attack vectors. Reigning in the changes can pose a difficult problem for several agencies but it ultimately comes down to understanding the threats to your particular agency and narrowing your defenses on those areas. Focus and prioritization become key in the constant battle.

Tags: technology , Trusted Advisor Blog , cyber security , homeland security , cloud , FISMA , OMB

Tuesday - 02/02/2010, 10:46am EST

Commerce reduces water usage by a third

The Dept. of Commerce has managed to reduce its water usage by 30 percent over the last two years.

Tags: mngt , tech , John Bollinger , Commerce Department , water usage , Going Green Winning Gold

Wednesday - 11/25/2009, 09:29am EST
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Baldrige Award aims to prove quality matters

The Baldrige Award was envisioned as a standard of excellence that would help U.S. organizations achieve world-class quality.

Tags: mngt , Harry Hertz , 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

Monday - 11/09/2009, 09:30am EST
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What slows the vaccine: the chicken or the egg?

While vaccine supplies have fallen short of what the government promised, that information came from the companies making the inoculations.

Tags: Bob Graham , H1N1 vaccine , Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Prolifer ,

Monday - 11/02/2009, 09:05am EST
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Agency cybersecurity reporting to get makeover

OMB has launched new tool to automate FISMA reporting. This data will help populate a new cybersecurity dashboard, federal CIO Vivek Kundra says. OMB also wants to collect more specific data around how much and where agencies are spending money on IT security.

Tags: technology , cybersecurity , security , Vivek Kundra , John Streufert , Tom Carper , OMB , State , Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs , DHS , CIO Council , metrics , FISMA , dashboard

Friday - 10/30/2009, 07:01am EDT
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NIST issues a call to arms in the Battle of the Microbots

After introducing the world to tiny robots with soccer skills, NIST is creating the next level of friendly competition designed to advance microrobotics.

Tags: tech , microrobotics , Craig McGray

Thursday - 10/22/2009, 09:28am EDT
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CIO Council taskforce to change security metrics

New group is developing performance measures that are based on outcomes. OMB has set a November deadline for a draft of the metrics that will be reviewed by government and industry. DHS says the governmentwide focus to improve cybersecurity is on standards, metrics and authentication.

Tags: technology , Bruce McConnell , John Streufert , OMB , DHS , State , CIO Council , cybersecurity , Performance measures , Consensus Audit Guidelines

Friday - 10/02/2009, 05:02pm EDT

NIST releases final cybersecurity recommendations

Many fundamentals are reiterated, while new threats are also identified.

Tags: technology , cybersecurity , DoD , IC , Ron Ross , Dorothy Ramienski

Thursday - 08/13/2009, 05:53pm EDT
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Watch it wiggle!

Tags: tech , Nadine Gergel Hackett , Curt Richter

Friday - 06/19/2009, 10:37am EDT
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