Policy would require agencies to scan for network threats every 72 hours and begin patching holes

Continuous monitoring program remains a work in progress, DHS official says.

The original headline on this story was modified for clarification.

The Homeland Security Department later this month will present to federal computer contractors and remote cloud suppliers standards for finding and fixing cyber threats within 72 hours, DHS officials announced on Thursday.

The new approach aims to resolve what some cybersecurity specialists view as a flaw with the principle of automated “continuous monitoring” that the White House called for in 2010. Real-time tracking of potential network threats is intended to identify weaknesses faster and more economically than the old policy of manually reporting on computer inventories and incidents once a year. But spotting all the risks to personal computers and Internet connections in an organization does not make data any safer, critics note. Fixing them quickly does.

Resolving identified weaknesses rapidly is the goal of the new procedures and, according to some government advisers, agencies could eventually be required to adopt them. “We’re initiating the discussion and we are asking for comment,” DHS National Cybersecurity Division Director John Streufert told Nextgov on Thursday.

Homeland Security officials will describe the standards in-depth to industry officials June 25-26, Streufert said earlier in the day during a talk co-hosted by Government Executive Media Group, which includes Nextgov. He spearheaded the original continuous monitoring movement as the former chief information security officer for the State Department.

“Think continuous monitoring and mitigation,” said SANS Institute Research Director Alan Paller, who added that the term “continuous monitoring” has been misinterpreted in practice. “Knowing [of a weakness] and not fixing it is dangerous.” SANS, a computer security think tank, co-sponsored the event.

Streufert said the mechanics also will help shape rapid response in the cloud, where agencies do not always have physical control over their data. The standards are not a mandate, he said, but rather a template for how to tailor procedures to every sort of computing environment from federal data centers to corporate offices.

The formulation of the continuous fixing method follows the June 6 launch of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program for certifying the security of outsourced computer centers. FedRAMP is a process in which third-party auditors initially check that a cloud service meets a set of uniform, governmentwide security controls, and then offer the resulting accreditation documentation to all agencies for free reuse. Any department can then install the authorized service as long as the cloud vendor continuously monitors those controls for their federal customers.

“Every agency is still fully responsible for the security of their operating environment,” Dave McClure, an associate administrator at the General Services Administration, which manages FedRAMP, said during the talk. The procedures for automated, continuous reporting to agencies are still a work in progress, Streufert said.

McClure said the government, as of June 13, had received 22 applications from cloud companies for certification. FedRAMP is obligatory for all Web services that will have a limited or serious impact on government operations if disrupted. The Office of Management and Budget is responsible for enforcing the program, which McClure said he expects will happen each year when agencies file reports on compliance with federal computer security law. “I think they’ve got some leverage,” he said, without going into details.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.