GAO documents state of IT security tech
- By William Jackson
- Mar 19, 2004
A General Accounting Office study of commercially available IT security products considers 18 types of tools.
Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census, requested the study for hearings on agency compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act.
FISMA requires agencies to report annually on progress in implementing IT security programs. Progress to date has been disappointing, Putnam said.
GAO's study (accessible text file)
does not mention specific products but evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of 18 technologies in five categories:
For access control:FirewallsContent managementBiometricsSmart tokensUser rights and privileges.
For system integrity:Antivirus softwareIntegrity checkers.
For cryptography:Digital signatures and certificatesVirtual private networks.
For auditing and monitoring:Intrusion detection systemsIntrusion prevention systemsSecurity event correlation toolsComputer forensics tools.
For configuration management and assurance:Policy enforcement applicationsNetwork managementContinuity-of-operations toolsScannersPatch management.
The technical discussion 'is intended to assist agencies in identifying and selecting cybersecurity technologies,' the report said. The factors to consider in effectively implementing security tools include:Use in a layered, defense-in-depth strategy Characteristics of an agency's IT infrastructureIndependent assessment of productsStaff training in secure implementation and use of productsSecure configuration.
To read the full report, 'Information Security: Technologies to Secure Federal Systems,' enter GAO-04-467 at www.gao.gov
William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.