Page 14 - GCN, May 2016
P. 14

Securing the government IT enterprise is not getting any easier.
IN RECENT YEARS, agencies have been investing in technologies such as cloud, mobility, and big data that have the potential to transform 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
(FITARA), signed into law in December 2014, enacts the requirements of the 2010 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI).
The forthcoming Data Center Optimization Initiative, 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 and emerging digital media. Once they are available on a large scale, these services could begin to take a toll on the enterprise.
government’s thought leaders on cybersecurity, 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 can actually understand what we have and how to secure it,” said Ross, speaking 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 recognizes this
“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
challenge. The Obama administration’s budget
request for 2017 includes $19 billion for cyber investments, 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 current year.
Despite the administration’s increased focus on security, “the cyber threat continues to outpace our current efforts,” Michael Daniel, the White House’s top cybersecurity 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
In a recent survey conducted by the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, 50 percent of respondents said they were “very concerned” by the security risks associated with digital services, while 44 percent were equally concerned 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 delivering innovative services. The sheer scale of the data and connectivity has caught the attention of federal IT leaders.

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