Agencies make headway in reducing Internet gateways

Agencies have until the latter part of 2009 to begin operating
approximately 79 Internet gateways that will serve the federal
government under the Trusted Internet Connection (TIC), Karen
Evans, Office of Management and Budget's administrator for
e-Government and information technology, said today.


The exact number of connections may change as some agencies
provide more information and vendors establish TIC services, Evans
said as she released a status report on the TIC initiative
today. Evans also said the deadline for the TIC is "toward the end"
of calendar year 2009, but did not provide a specific date.


The TIC effort should improve the federal government's
information security environment by making it easier to monitor
data traffic on agencies' connections, OMB said when it
introduced the initiative last year.


'Fewer external connections means fewer vulnerabilities
and better secured networks,' Evans said.


Agencies have reduced the number of their external connections
to the Internet from 4,300 in January to 2,758 in May and shown
progress toward meeting the goal of fewer than 100 connections that
was established in June, Evans said.


OMB originally set a goal for 50 connections to serve all
federal agencies. It raised that number after reviewing the
statements of capability that agencies submitted to OMB last
month.


OMB must still reconcile the difference between the 235
connections that agencies in total reported as their target and its
calculated target of 79 agency connections, Evans said.


The TIC would standardize individual external network
connections so agencies can provide the connections for themselves
or use the services of TIC Access Providers, which would be modeled
after the shared-service provider concept in other consolidation
initiatives. Vendors under the General Services
Administration's Networx governmentwide network and
telecommunications contract will have the opportunity to
demonstrate their technical capabilities to also provide TIC
services.


To meet the goal of fewer than 100 trusted Internet connections,
the status report stated that 17 agencies acting as single-service
providers and one agency as a shared-services provider would
establish 79 TICs. Networx providers could potentially offer 10 TIC
locations.


However, five agencies have not met at least 90 percent of the
technical requirement and the remaining 121 mostly smaller federal
agencies would seek service from an approved TIC Access Provider,
OMB said.


TIC is one of the security initiatives for which agencies
accomplished the initial milestones by June 30. Agencies also
demonstrated that their networks are ready for the transition to
IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol, and for implementing a
security standard, the Federal Desktop Core Configuration, for
Microsoft's XP and Vista operating systems.


Agencies also plan to install Einstein technology to
continuously monitor traffic at the trusted Internet gateways.



About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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