Department Spotlight: Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may be the newest cabinet-level department, but it is still facing the same modernization challenges felt across government. The agencies pulled under the DHS umbrella in 2002 came with legacy systems. While a good deal of integration and modernization happened while DHS was being formed, systems have to keep evolving to keep up with the ever-changing threat landscape and the technologies used to threaten the homeland.

Cybersecurity, as it relates to the protection of the national infrastructure and government systems, is a huge focus for DHS. In fact, The DHS Secretary recently said that nation-state adversaries "are at the highest levels since the Cold War, largely but not exclusively due to leveraging cyber to conduct espionage and influence operations and disrupt services." As part of their efforts to strengthen their cybersecurity posture, the Department is leading the Continuous Diagnostic Monitoring (CDM) efforts across government to provide capabilities and tools to identify cybersecurity risks on an ongoing basis, prioritize these risks based on potential impacts, and enable cybersecurity personnel to mitigate the most significant problems first.

With a broad mandate to support election security, DHS has been collaborating across the government to ensure the security of machines and records for national elections. New technologies such as Albert sensors, technology designed to detect suspicious IP addresses and malware signatures, will be in place in 90% or more of voting machines used in November. Continue reading

DevOps Shines as Federal IT Modernization Efforts Grow

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

The Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) and other related initiatives are pushing agencies to move away from aging, legacy applications as well as costly, complex software projects. The goal is to have more secure, agile, and cost-effective IT infrastructures replace them.

DevOps, a moniker that is a combination of development and operations, is emerging as an approach that could help Federal agencies modernize and speed new development efforts, especially as they migrate to cloud services. DevOps is a software engineering culture as well as a practice that advocates automation and monitoring throughout the software development lifecycle. It generally pairs development teams with IT operations throughout the development cycle, eliminating the somewhat adversarial role that sometimes has naturally formed in many organizations. Continue reading

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Going into its (lucky) thirteenth year, the recognition of October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is becoming as integral to fall as football, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything. Championed by the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, Cyber Security Awareness Month is an annual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of proper cyber behavior in our personal and professional lives.[Tweet "October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. #GovEventsBlog #NCSAM"]

In 2016, the NCSAM campaign saw over 151 million impressions of the hashtag #CyberAware, over 43,000 hits to NCSAM webpages, and more than 85 partners hosted NCSAM events. 2017 is shaping up to expand the reach of the program with five themed weeks of activity:

  • October 2-6 - Simple Steps to Online Safety
  • October 9-13 -Cyber Security in the Workplace is Everyone's Business
  • October 16-20 - Today's Predictions for Tomorrow's Internet
  • October 23-27 - The Internet Wants YOU: Consider a Career in Cyber Security
  • Week 5: October 30-31 - Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats

Continue reading

Pumpkin Lattes and Cybersecurity

October is a month of cooling temperatures, falling leaves, and pumpkin flavored everything. More importantly, it is also a month dedicated to looking at best practices in cybersecurity that will protect our data and the systems we depend on from the evolving threats directed at them. [Tweet "October: falling leaves, pumpkin flavored everything and cybersecurity awareness. #GovEventsBlog "]

From a year's worth of headlines about breaches in the public and private sector we know the threat is real and quantifiable.

  • The annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy is over $100 billion dollars and affects 556 million victims per year.
  • The average length of time that a cyber-attack goes undetected is six months.
  • The average cost of a successful cyber-attack on an organization is rising year-over-year and is currently around $15 million.

October has been designated Cybersecurity Awareness Month by the White House, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is heading up the awareness campaign. Working with public sector organizations and private companies, DHS is encouraging the technology industry to use the month for training and education within their workforce and the public at large. [Tweet "DHS is heading up the October cybersecurity awareness campaign. #GovEventsBlog"]The Department has broken the month into themed weeks to make the daunting task of securing our nation's systems a bit easier to swallow.  This year's themes are:

  • General Cybersecurity Awareness: 5 Years of Stop.Think.Connect.™
  • Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity at Work
  • Connected Communities: Staying Protected While Always Connected
  • Your Evolving Digital Life
  • Building the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals

The DHS website references keystone events nationwide addressing these themes. Next week, we'll provide a list of some key events for the federal IT and management audience.