Procurement

Slow IT procurement hinders security

cyber attack button

The difficulties that government agencies have in trying to acquire secure hardware and software that isn't obsolete or vulnerable before being deployed is a nagging problem that aggravates at least one cyber warrior.

"I'm frustrated by this," Charles Berlin, director of the National Security Operations Center at the National Security Agency, told other federal agency attendees at the 2013 SAS Government Leadership Summit on May 21 in Washington, D.C.

Appearing on panel of cybersecurity experts discussing how to manage expanding and mutating cyber security risks, Berlin said that rather than dealing with the security features of each individual piece of equipment added to the network, addressing the underlying platform and architecture is a more efficient, and ultimately more secure, route – especially given the length of time federal acquisition can take.

"If blade [servers] become commoditized, buy blades," he said. Cybersecurity is designed around process, not pieces of gear.

The NSA's cloud services are a way to defend information, he said. "The architecture is the thing. Commodity buys come and go."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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