NIST seeks partners for cybersecurity challenges

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, shown speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between NIST and Maryland to create NIST's Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. (Photo: NIST)

The federal agency tasked with developing measurements and standards is looking for companies to help solve pressing cybersecurity challenges in a new effort: the National Cybersecurity Excellence Partnerships.

In an Oct. 12 Federal Register notice,  the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Information Technology Laboratory calls on private-sector firms to submit letters of interest in collaborating in the National Cybersecurity Excellence Partnerships.

The Federal Register notice appeared just days after a new report outlined how cyberattacks against U.S businesses and government have grown 42 percent in the past year. That research, released by the Ponemon Institute,  also showed a lack of proactive security as being a major cause for the spike in attacks.

NCEP collaborators will be housed at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Rockville, Md., which opened its doors in June 2012 and acts as a hub for NIST researchers to collaborate with users and vendors from government, industry and academia on holistic cybersecurity approaches.

Collaborators will work on developing the intellectual and physical infrastructure needed to support collaborative efforts on approaches to resolve cybersecurity challenges. Individual “use cases” will be used to cybersecurity challenges and will incorporate the IT security needs of specific communities or sectors, such as health care, finance and utilities.

NIST will choose the topic for the use cases through workshops and input from stakeholders and the feedback provided via collaborative online participation.

The idea is that the NCCoE will support several use cases in various stages. Collaborators are neither required to partake in any given use cases nor guaranteed participation. However, they will be given priority for participation in each use case if their resources are already onsite at the NCCoE.

Those who participate in a use case also are not required to contribute their own resources, but may choose to. Any resources will be made available to all use case participants, including NIST, NCEP collaborators and others.

NCEP agreements are expected to be last for three years, with renewal subject to the requirements and interests of the collaborator and NIST/ITL.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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