Energy retools security, IDEA program
- By Wilson P. Dizard III
- May 28, 2003
'A lot of sites manage their space well, but we are only as strong as our weakest link. When we put this together, our cybersecurity program will be stronger.'
'Energy CIO Karen Evans
The Energy Department is surveying its Web presence to strengthen security and to move forward on its Innovative Department of Energy E-government Applications (IDEA) program.
The perimeter scanning program involves the Energy laboratories. 'What we are trying to do is identify all the [Web] resources the department actually owns,' Evans said. 'We are surveying our virtual property lines.'
Energy's CIO office is carrying out the task with help from the department's Independent Oversight and Performance Assurance Office.
'We are putting together a catalog of all the address space that belongs to the department,' Evans said. 'Then, through our cybersecurity program, we will get our hands around what resources we own.'
Some national laboratory information assets are in the .edu domain, for example.
'A lot of the sites manage their space well, but we are only as strong as our weakest link,' Evans said. 'When we put this together, our cybersecurity program will be stronger.'
The department plans to complete the first phase of the virtual property survey by October.Taking the helm
Another security initiative Energy has launched follows the departmentwide order that secretary Spencer Abraham signed in March to centralize cybersecurity management. Under the order, Energy will take a risk-based approach to evaluate cybersecurity threats, Evans said.
Glenn Schlarman, the associate CIO for cybersecurity, will have the lead in implementing the order.
Evans said Schlarman worked with former cybersecurity czar Richard Clarke in developing the Government Information Security Reform Act and the Federal Information Security Management Act.
Meanwhile, the department is revamping its IDEA program, which began last year. A task force of employees from a cross-section of Energy agencies named 300 projects that should get greater attention. Officials narrowed the number down to 19 IDEA efforts.
One of the earliest steps was the launch of an E-Sign program to provide electronic signatures for document publishing. The program went into operation last fall using software from Entrust Inc. of McLean, Va., and Adobe Systems Inc.
'We are getting ready to plan a reunion of the task force members and managers who are leading the 19 projects. They'll look at pending projects and see what new projects we will add,' Evans said.
The IDEA project review will coincide with the department's own corporate review so that proposals can be coordinated with Exhibit 300 funds requests to the Office of Management and Budget.
Evans said one of the successes of the IDEA program has been progress in forming an agreement among all 18 headquarters offices to consolidate common types of services.My turn at the copier
Under the common services project, offices will share telecommunications, desktop applications, e-mail, Internet and cybersecurity functions. The agreements should be completed in the next six months, Evans said.
Several of the projects Energy will focus on through its IDEA program are initiatives to improve internal efficiency and effectiveness.
One is the Enterprise Human Resources system to provide electronic workflow for training, recruitment and other personnel actions.
Another is an Enterprise Financial Management system to automate forms routing for budget, accounting, financial reporting, cost and performance measurement.
The financial system will verify users by electronic signatures and will let them query and retrieve information online.
The department also plans to eliminate the bulk printing of financial reports.
Through the Extended Common Integrated Technology Environment (eXCITE), Energy plans to consolidate common IT systems throughout the department to improve service, increase purchasing power and reduce overall IT expenditures.
The department also plans to field a consolidated intranet that would serve as a single point of entry to a variety of IT services, such as collaboration and document management.
An e-Procurement initiative will streamline the department's processes for acquisition and awarding financial assistance. The project would let Energy track property and gather more timely information about contract workers.