VA gets visibility with cybersecurity tool

New tool shows security status of all computers on network

The Veterans Affairs Department expects to have a new cybersecurity tool operating later this month that will provide a real-time view of all computers and electronic devices on the department’s network.

After the deployment is complete, information security officials there will have real-time information on the security status of nearly a million desktop and laptop computers, printers and other devices, Roger Baker, The VA's assistant secretary or information and technology, said today.

“We want visibility into every device on our network,” Baker said in a conference call with reporters. “It will give us a complete view of vulnerabilities in our enterprise.”

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The new application is part of a $50 million software and systems upgrade to VA cybersecurity this year, and will help the department identify and remove unencrypted or unauthorized devices on the network, and identify the security status of authorized devices, Baker said. The cost of $50 million doesn't count staff time involved in the implementation, he added.

After the implementation is done, VA officials will be able to view information about the devices’ operating systems, operational security and patches to correct security flaws, he said.

The tool also will help identify when and where laptops and other IT devices disappear or are stolen, he said. From June through August, 61 laptops, desktop computers and other devices were reported missing or stolen at the department.

The tools will be used by network security operators at each VA facility to ensure its devices meet security requirements, he said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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