Page 12 - FCW, July30, 2016
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USCIS e-filing
needs work
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency is making progress on digitizing its e-filing and adjudication systems but still has significant issues, according to the annual report from its official ombudsman.
The report raises the same concerns about the multiyear transformation pro- gram as an audit published in March by the Department of Homeland Secu- rity’s Office of Inspector General. That report slammed USCIS’ implementation of the Electronic Immigration System, saying it would take three more years and another $1 billion to complete.
Although the ombudsman’s report states that about 900,000 customers filed and tracked services online using the emerging digital platform, “stakehold- ers encountered challenges locating or obtaining processing times and obtain- ing timely customer service.”
Furthermore, digitized forms avail- able through the platform were limited, with only two out of more than 90 form types and the activities associated with them available for e-filing.
However, the ombudsman said as it was finalizing its report, USCIS had begun entering data provided in select paper-filed forms and adjudicating them electronically.
Despite progress, the ombudsman said the IG’s report still raises signifi- cant concerns, particularly the finding that USCIS’ shift to a cloud-based archi- tecture did not include the “stakeholder involvement, performance metrics, sys- tem testing or user support needed for [e-filing] to be effective.”
The ombudsman recommended that USCIS increase responsiveness to user feedback and allow more external user involvement to implement holistic approaches.
19 companies have protested the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ $25 billion IT services contract
Reps press HHS on ransomware
12 July 30, 2016 FCW.COM
— Mark Rockwell
As the Department of Health and Human Services prepares guidance on how institutions should respond to ransomware attacks, Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) are urging HHS leaders to recognize that they are different from other types of cyberattacks.
In a June 27 letter to Deven McGraw, deputy director for health information privacy at HHS, the lawmakers wrote that ransomware hackers aren’t after data. Instead, they’re usually seeking cash.
Attackers can shut down hospitals and health care systems by blocking providers’ access to records, which means ransomware isn’t typically a threat to data privacy but could harm patients by locking providers out at potentially crucial times.
Hurd and Lieu said it might be nec- essary to notify patients if such a safe-
ty issue arises. However, notification only makes sense when ransomware results in denial of access to an elec- tronic health record and/or a loss of functionality to deliver medical services.
Mandating that institutions offer credit monitoring to patients might prove to be an unnecessary expense, they added.
The lawmakers said they would like to see guidance that “aggressively requires” notification of federal cyber- security authorities in the event of a breach. They also urged HHS to make it clear that deleting or modifying a patient record during a cyberattack constitutes a breach under existing law.
Ransomware typically launches itself through a bad email message or other file sent to a provider and then locks servers, storage devices, applications and files until a “ransom” is paid.
— Mark Rockwell
HHS deputy CIO takes agency’s top IT spot
Department of Health and Human Services Deputy CIO Beth Killoran moved up to the agency’s top CIO spot on July 11.
HHS Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield announced the news in a July 8 blog post and added that Killoran will lead agencywide work on cybersecurity and privacy protection.
initiative and the Cybersecurity Com- munications, Awareness, Response and Education program, which seek to raise HHS employees’ aware-
ness of electronic risks and improve their cyber habits.
In May, Killoran told the House Oversight and Govern- ment Reform Committee that HHS’ performance under Federal Information Security Modernization Act audits was
Killoran joined HHS in
October 2014 and has served as executive director of the Office of
IT Strategy, Policy and Governance. Previously, she worked at the Depart- ment of Homeland Security for 11 years.
Wakefield said Killoran’s priorities will include the agency’s anti-phish- ing campaign, the HealthyTechnology
at the highest level in four years. In addition, the agency is in the
process of deploying the next phase of the Einstein program, and as part of the implementation of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, Killoran introduced a new risk model for scor- ing IT investments at HHS.
— Mark Rockwell
Beth Killoran

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