Focus on cybersecurity compliance called ineffective

By | February 23, 2006

Adherence to congressionally mandated IT security processes is a poor measure of the true state of cybersecurity across the government, a former federal chief information security officer said Wednesday.

Agencies are fixated on complying with statutes such as the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act and are creating piles of paperwork and checklists that indicate little about actual security levels, said Bruce Brody, vice president of information security at INPUT, a Reston, Va.-based market analysis firm.

Brody said annual cybersecurity grades determined by the House Government Reform Committee and its chairman, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., based on FISMA compliance, also have little meaning. For fiscal 2004, the federal government achieved an overall grade of D+, up from a D the previous year.

“When the annual FISMA grades are released — which could be imminently — you have to ask yourself, what do those grades really mean?” Brody said. “The high grades could mean a lot of compliance, but not a lot of security. The low grades could mean that there´s plenty of security in place, but it just wasn´t verified on paper properly.”Read Full Story

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