New guidance for incident reporting

The Bush administration will soon give agencies specific directions on how to report information security problems to the Federal Computer Incident Response Center.

The guidance, due within six weeks, will ensure that FedCirc is receiving the information it needs to best track, analyze and, if possible, prevent incidents that occur across agencies, said Sallie McDonald, a senior official within the Homeland Security Department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate.

The department's National Cyber Security Division houses the Federal Computer Incident Response Center (FedCIRC) and other national and governmentwide warnings and analysis groups that were spread around government.

"I think that's going to be a step in the right direction," McDonald said during a panel on July 25 at the GovSec 2003 conference in Washington, D.C.

State governments are also concerned about having a centralized view of security information, said Chris Dixon, issues coordinator for The National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

NASCIO is still working on technology and policies for its Interstate Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which will collect data from states across the country. The ISAC has support despite the incredibly tight budgets at the state level, Dixon said.

Because senior administrators within government now understand the importance of security, states do not seem to be cutting back on it as budgets are slashed to cover shortfalls, Dixon said. However, states are also unable to expand their programs the way they planned, he added.

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