Upgraded CDM dashboard to roll out through FY2021

DHS officials say four federal agencies are now using an upgraded Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation dashboard and they plan to continue implementing the platform elsewhere throughout the fiscal year.

network monitoring (nmedia/Shutterstock.com)

Department of Homeland Security officials say an upgraded version of their Continuous Diagnostic and Mitigation program dashboard is operating within four small federal agencies and they plan to on-ramp others by the end of this fiscal year.

"What we found there is it is achieving our objectives of being able to scale better, being higher performing, better visualization, better analytics than what were originally available in our first dashboard," Kevin Cox, CDM program manager at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said at a Nov. 19 FCW event.

The CDM program aims to standardize how federal agencies monitor their networks for cyber threats while also improving DHS' visibility into each agency's network activities. The newer dashboard implements Elasticsearch, which is developed by Elastic, a search company that creates software for various types of analytics. ECS won a $276 million DHS contract in May 2019 to work with CISA to develop the improved dashboard; Elastic was a technical partner included in the company’s bid.

Betsy Kulick, CDM deputy program manager, speaking during the same FCW event said the four agencies operating with the improved dashboard are "smaller" in size and that a "medium-sized agency" will be using it by the end of this month.

"We're watching the scalability of this very carefully, but we have high expectations that it is going to work," Kulick said.

"Over the rest of the fiscal year we anticipate moving all the rest of the [Chief Financial Officers] Act Agencies onto the elastic platform and ultimately slowly decommissioning" the legacy one, she continued.

Kulick said during this fiscal year, the CDM office will focus on adding features to its dashboard such as health reporting to ensure the information being exchanged is reliable and introducing its AWARE risk scoring algorithm.

Asked about the transition schedule for the new dashboard, Kulick said her office has "total buy in" from other agencies.

"There are always going to be technical issues that are going to slow things down, getting authority to operate for example," she said.

"There may be some laggards in that, but we're not getting a sense from any of the agencies that -- 'hell no, we don't want to go," she continued.

Clarification: This article was updated Nov. 20 to note that ECS won the CDM dashboard contract and Elastic was a technical partner included in the bid.