recommended reading

Security presented as the foundation of new federal digital strategy

Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock.com

A new guidebook for mobile-enabled government aims to squelch privacy and security concerns common to tiny devices by protecting sensitive data before it ever reaches a phone.

The 31-page White House strategy issued Wednesday for delivering agency services via apps attaches the word “secure” to almost every activity description. A graphic visualizing the flow of digital services under the plan titles its foundational layer, Security & Privacy.

At the same, the paper acknowledges the mobile model’s goals of openness and collaboration can “have the potential to make devices and data vulnerable to malicious or accidental breaches of security and privacy.” Laptops have long carried similar risks, but smaller-size smartphones and tablets increase the chances of losing data or opening agency networks to unauthorized users, the strategy states.

To address the conflict between transparency and security, the blueprint calls for partitioning sensitive information prior to transmission by, among other things, requiring strong identity verification.

This way, “data owners can focus more effort on ensuring the safe and secure delivery of data to the end customer and fewer resources on securing the device that will receive the data,” the strategy states.

The paper contemplates moving much of the government’s digital intelligence to the cloud -- or remote data centers -- to reach the point of using essentially dummy phones.

“If applications, operating systems and data reside in an appropriately secured cloud environment rather than on a device, this will limit the potential impact to an agency in the event a device is lost, stolen or compromised,” the strategy states.

The Defense and Homeland Security departments, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will do much of the heavy lifting to install the security layer of the strategy. Within 12 months, the trio must craft standard security requirements for broadening the use of mobile and wireless devices in government, according to the plan.

To keep certain digital services confidential, particularly those involving citizen information, the federal Chief Information Officers Council will develop instructions for deploying privacy controls during the next six months. Within that time frame, the council also will teach agency privacy and legal specialists about the latest options for preventing the unnecessary collection of personal data, minimizing how long data is stored and notifying users of data breaches.

(Image via Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock.com  /Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.