USCIS needs to better track its laptops, IG says

The US Citizenship & Immigration Services agency needs to do a better job at keeping its 6,659 laptop computers inventoried and updated, according to a new federal audit report.

The agency enters information about each laptop into the Sunflower Asset Management System, assigns the laptop and customizes it for the employee.

However, the records were incomplete and some of the computers were running outdated software, according to the May 4 report from the Homeland Security Department Office of Inspector General.

“USCIS did not have an accurate inventory of its laptops,” the report said. “Specifically, property custodians did not consistently enter laptop data into the property management system, and data in different systems did not always agree. Furthermore, not all laptops were assigned to specific users, and USCIS did not adequately track which laptops were provided to contractors.”

For example, about 3 percent of a random sample of laptops had a computer name that did not match the bar code, and 6 percent had nonstandard internal computer names. USCIS has begun using hand-held barcode scanners to increase the accuracy of the inventory, the report added. Those deficiencies, potentially affecting about 600 laptops in total, made it difficult to accurately locate all the laptops owned by the agency.

The inability to keep track of the laptops contributed to other shortcomings as well, including identifying which computers needed updates to their software, the inspector general wrote in the report.

The data on the laptops were not always secured with the latest encryption software. In a random sample of 287 laptops that were audited, 1.8 percent were running old versions of encryption software and 4.5 percent had no encryption or inactive encryption.

The audit also identified outdated operating systems in 4 percent of the laptops in our random sample.

The inspector general made five recommendations and the agency agreed with all of them.

About the Author

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


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.