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GCN : May 2016
I N RECENT YEARS, agencies have been i nvesting in technologies such as cloud, mobility, and big data that have the potential to tra nsform how they manage their IT operations and deliver services both to their employees and to the public. But transformation has had an unintended consequence: added complexity. That complexity makes it difficult to secure the enterprise. With so many moving pieces and dynamic workloads, it can be difficult to identify and mitigate potential security and performance problems before the damage is done. In a recent federal buying study conducted by the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, 84 percent of respondents agreed that technology initiatives have increased in scope and complexity. Ron Ross, Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and one of the federal government ’s thought leaders on cybersecu rity, argues that the increasing complexity of the federal enterprise amounts to a greater “attack surface” for hackers to exploit. “When you look at the complexity of the things that we’re building today, we’ve gone past the time when we ca n actually understand what we have and how to secure it,” said Ross, speak ing last year at a conference hosted by the Open Group. Complexity, Ross has said, is “an adversary’s most effective weapon in the 21st century.” The federal government recogni zes this challenge. The Obama admi nistration’s budget request for 2017 includes $19 billion for cyber i nvestments, a 35 percent increase from the final 2016 budget. The Department of Veterans Affairs, for example, is seeking to boost cyber spending by $128 million, which would be a 34 percent increase over the cur rent year. Despite the admi nistration’s increased focus on secu rity, “the cyber threat continues to outpace our current efforts,” Michael Daniel, the White House’s top cybersecu rity advisor, told reporters on a Feb. 8 conference call. But complexity is the order of the day, as the federal government continues its push to consolidate data centers. The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), signed into law in December 2014, enacts the requirements of the 2010 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI). The for thcomi ng Data Center Optimi zation I nitiative, released in draft form in March, raises the bar yet again. The new policy, which will supersede FDCCI, reiterates the federal government’s “cloud first” policy and directs agencies to make shared services a priority. In the coming years, federal IT infrastructures and cyber strat- egies also will bear an increasing burden from digital services. During the last three years, agencies have been exploring how to better engage with their constituents through new a nd emerging digital media. Once they are available on a large scale, these services could begin to take a toll on the enterprise. In a recent sur vey conducted by the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, 50 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” by the security risks associated with digital ser vices, while 44 percent were equally concer ned about the strains on the IT infrastructure. The challenges could be even greater with the Internet of Things (IoT). With the IoT, the goal is to tap into the massive amounts of data that are already being collected in our hyper- connected world to develop new applications for managing agency operations or deliveri ng innovative ser vices. The sheer scale of the data and connectivity has caught the attention of federal IT leaders. MEETING THE DEMANDS OF THE NEW ENTERPRISE Securing the government IT enterprise is not getting any easier. “People are connecting stuff to the Internet that we never thought would be connected. You know people are working on hacking your Fitbit.” — Lt . Gen. Edward Cardon, Head of the Army Cyber Command S-12 SECURING THE ENTERPRISE SPONSORED CONTENT
March and April 2016
June and July 2016