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You too can store data like the NSA

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The stories keep coming about the National Security Agency gathering digital metadata on a massive scale, focusing most Americans on the balancing act between privacy and national security. Agency IT leaders, however, could be forgiven for also asking, "How do they organize all that data?"

As luck would have it, NSA Technical Director Neal Ziring went into some detail on that very question in a recent webinar.

In a May 30 presentation produced by 1105 Government Events (which is owned by the same parent company as FCW), Ziring outlined the NSA's approach to data security. "We are well past the model where you say 'everyone who can log on on this computer can gain access to all the data, all the information that's stored on that computer or on that cloud or in that data center,'" he said. "We need to think about controlling that more tightly."

Ziring said the agency's "smart data" approach improves access for authorized users, provides better control over access by "non-person entities," supports analytics across multiple repositories, and helps to spot "anomalies and abuse." The NSA's strategy and architecture -- which stresses data provenance and careful tagging, he said, can apply to "a lot of other government organizations, in industry and in academia as well."

The full webinar is available for online viewing (free registration required) on the FOSE website.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jun 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


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    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

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    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

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    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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