Oversight

IG: EPA infosec needs better management

EPA seal 

While the Environmental Protection Agency has an effective information security program, more vigilant management and a more complete security training program are required to better protect its data.

In its annual audit of Federal Information Security Management Act compliance, EPA's office of inspector general rated the agency at a level three maturity level for the five security function areas: identifying, protecting against, detecting, responding to and recovering from information security concerns.

A level three rating signifies FISMA requirements are consistently implemented, but with some measurement and management deficiencies.

By comparison, last year, the IG rated the agency at level three for four security function areas, and at level two for a fifth. A level five maturity level is the highest possible score

Overall, auditors concluded EPA has fully defined and implemented its policies and procedures for information security functions.

However, the agency did not implement risk management and identity and access management activities.

Auditors also found "substantial weaknesses" in EPA's information security training program, relating to how the agency verifies whether contractors “with significant information security responsibilities” comply with specialized security training requirements.

As a result, EPA is unable to determine whether information security contractors possess the skills or training necessary to protect the agency’s data and networks from breaches, the IG found. In this area, EPA received the lowest possible rating.

EPA management concurred with IG's conclusions.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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