OMB names four agencies as security LOB centers

The Office of Management and Budget today named four agencies to provide services to certify and accredit computer systems to assist agencies across government to fulfill federal information security requirements.

As shared service centers, the agencies would aim to conduct certification and accreditation (C&A) activities more effectively than agencies currently do themselves because they will deliver the services across multiple agencies using best practices under the Information Systems Security Line of Business, said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and information technology, in a briefing with reporters.

The Federal Information Security Management Act requires agencies to certify and accredit that their computer systems are secure or that they are managing risk.

The four agencies selected as shared service centers are: the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt; the Interior Department’s National Business Center; the Transportation Department’s Federal Aviation Administration Enterprise Service Center, and the Justice Department.

The agencies have improved the analysis and assembling of the documentation associated with certification and accreditation to overcome some of the criticism by security experts that C&A is a compliance exercise and doesn’t truly measure risk, Evans said.

OMB said it established the security LOB, which the Homeland Security Department manages, to promote improved, consistent and measurable information security processes and controls across government and to gain savings or cost-avoidance through reduced duplication and greater economies of scale.

The security LOB already provides FISMA reporting services, in which the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department act as shared service centers to evaluate the security capabilities of customer agencies, Evans said.

Agencies also have produced implementation plans for how they will move to shared service centers for FISMA reporting, she said. OMB supports the careful approach that agencies are taking when it comes to security and privacy to move to the shared service centers, Evans said.

“We don’t want to disrupt the way they are managing their information assurance/ information security program. What we want to do is enhance those,” she said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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