Home Articles GAO Information Security Report

GAO Information Security Report

PDF Print E-mail

The GOA Report on Information Security [1] describes a number of serious issues that were found during a GAO review of 24 government agencies. "Each of the 24 agencies reviewed had weaknesses in information security controls.", p.2.  Most of the issues cited were indeed focused on information security but there were also a number of issues related to configuration management. As a CM expert, you need to know about this report because the IT controls mentioned must be established in both government and business. Let's review a few of the key findings.

Weaknesses Noted in All Major Categories of Controls

"Our, agency, and inspectors general assessments of information security controls during fiscal year 2010 revealed that most major federal agencies had weaknesses in each of the five major categories of information system controls: (1) access controls, which ensure that only authorized individuals can read, alter, or delete data; (2) configuration management controls, which provide assurance that only authorized software programs are implemented; (3) segregation of duties, which reduces the risk that one individual can independently perform inappropriate actions without detection; (4) continuity of operations planning, which helps avoid significant disruptions in computer-dependent operations; and (5) agencywide information security programs, which provide a framework for ensuring that risks are understood and that effective controls are selected and implemented. All 24 agencies had vulnerabilities in access control, configuration management, and security management. Deficiencies in segregation of duties and contingency planning, while not reported for all of these agencies, were prevalent.", p. 11

Another key area cited was related to segregation of duties.


"Segregation of duties refers to the policies, procedures, and organizational structure that help ensure that one individual cannot independently control all key aspects of a computer-related operation and thereby take unauthorized actions or gain unauthorized access to assets or records. Key steps to achieving proper segregation are ensuring that incompatible duties are separated and employees understand their responsibilities, and controlling personnel activities through formal operating procedures, supervision, and review.", p15

There's much more in this report that CM gurus should know about, because the issues cited highlight the IT controls that are essential in any regulatory environment. For example, the GAO highlights the importance of configuration management controls and the essential regulatory requirement for an independent application build, package and deploy.

Are you working in a regulatory environment? Please drop me a line and share some of your experiences with establishing IT controls. We will be publishing more articles explaining how to implement effective IT controls to meet these and other regulatory requirements.

 

 

1. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-137



More articles by this author

Micro Focus Completes Acquisition of Serena Software, Inc. Application Lifecycle Management Acquisition Boosts Micro Focus’s DevOps Capability ROCKVILLE, Md., May 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L) today announced the completion of its acquisition of Serena Software, a leading provider of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) software, under the terms of the definitive agreement disclosed on March 22, 2016. "Our customers continue to look at DevOps as a way to deploy critical applications and services quickly and with greater reliability to meet business demands," said Stephen Murdoch, CEO, Micro Focus. "The Serena acquisition extends our ability to help customers meet these challenges so they can drive greater innovation faster with lower risk." According to industry analyst firm Gartner, "DevOps implementations utilize technology, especially automation tools, that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective."1  The experience and expertise which the Serena business brings will enable Micro Focus to help its customers develop and release applications and services faster, with greater speed and accuracy. Serena adds capabilities in software application development; software configuration and change management; and business process management to Micro Focus's portfolio of ALM solutions spanning mainframe environments, distributed systems and cloud. The combination of Micro Focus and Serena allows companies to better: Design and build business applications and services with greater accuracy, reliability and predictability; Continuously deploy existing core business applications on a wider variety of platforms to meet changing business needs; and Improve the speed and efficiency of new business services through automated release and deployment solutions. About Serena Software Serena is among the largest Application Lifecycle Management vendors with more than 2,500 enterprise customers. Serena helps the highly regulated large enterprise move fast without breaking things – increasing velocity of the software development lifecycle while enhancing security, compliance, and performance. More information is available at www.serena.com. About Micro Focus Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L) is a global enterprise software company helping customers innovate faster with lower risk. Our software helps customers build, operate and secure IT systems that bring together existing business logic and applications with emerging technologies to meet increasingly complex business demands. For more information, visit: www.microfocus.com. 1I&O Must Combine ITIL and DevOps to Deliver Business Value for Bimodal IT," by George Spafford and Ian Head, March 18, 2016.
Hi, I am excited to invite you to subscribe to our new online publication which provides guidance on Configuration Management Best Practices, Agile Application Lifecycle Management (including videos) and, of course DevOps. Our publication explains hands-on best practices required to implement just enough process to ensure that you can build software and systems that are reliable and secure. Based upon our new book, Agile Application Lifecycle Management - Using DevOps to Drive Process Improvement, the Agile ALM DevOps Journal seeks to promote a dialogue that is really needed in the industry today. We will discuss practical approaches to implementing the Agile ALM using DevOps best practices including continuous integration, delivery and deployment. We will also discuss process improvement strategies that work in large organizations that must comply with federal regulatory guidelines, along with smaller teams that may very well grow as they become successful. We are taking this journey together and our goal is to ensure that you have a voice and can share your experiences along with learning from other colleagues too. Enjoy Leslie Sachs's amazing column: Personality Matters and Bob Aiello's column: Behaviorally Speaking. We will also report on major incidents where organizations clearly need to improve on their ability to develop and deliver software effectively, including the recent Southwest systems glitches which resulted in thousands of flights being cancelled and thousands more being delayed. We will also bring you exciting technical product announcements such as jfrog's new xray, which helps to scan your runtime objects, including docker images, for vulnerabilities. This is an exciting time to be in the technology field. Join the revolution! You can submit your articles for publication to share your own knowledge and experience!  Subscribe to receive your copy and register so that you can comment online Bob Aiello http://www.linkedin.com/in/BobAiello @bobaiello, @agilealmdevops, @cmbestpractices This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
 
Copyright © 2017 CM Best Practices. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.
 

Product News

Live Online Training

Jobs