In this week’s roundup we take a look at how different agencies are handling ever-present threats to citizen and government data. We also welcome back data center consolidation as a hot topic of conversation and see which agencies are leading, which ones are climbing the ranks, and which ones still need to embrace the challenge. You can find answers to these questions and more in this week’s federal news roundup.
IRS in the Spotlight for Data Security
With just a few weeks left until Tax Day, the IRS is once again in the spotlight for its data security practices. This time, the GAO took issue with the agency’s failure to implement “a number of information security protocols related to systems storing taxpayer data.” The report noted that the “IRS had not updated key mainframe policies and procedures to address issues such as comprehensively auditing and monitoring access…In addition, the IRS did not include sufficient detail in its authorization procedures to ensure that access to systems was appropriate.” Here are some ideas on how to ensure file and data integrity to combat data theft.
Council Continues to Drive the VA to a Position of IT Leadership
So far, 2016 has been the year of the healthcare hack. From California to D.C. healthcare organizations in both the public and private sector are under attack from malware, ransomware, APTs, and rogue medical devices. While many are struggling with how to balance the need for data security with the realities of 21st Century medical care, the VA has created “demilitarized zones” within the IT systems for its medical facilities. IT DMZ’s ensure that networks are segmented so that even if a malicious actor gains access to a desktop and shuts down a server, that the essential building and medical operations are unaffected and continue to operate. Smart move!
Data Center Consolidation is Back in the Headlines
After slipping out of the news cycle for a while, data center consolidation is back as a hot topic in agency circles. A recent GAO report found that four agencies – Commerce, DHS, Defense, and Treasury – have been responsible for most of the $2.8 million in recognized savings and 84 per cent of data center closings. With an extra push from FITARA and the Data Center Optimization Initiative, agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs, will soon be joining the ranks of data center consolidators.