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How Cyber Aware is Your Agency? Cyber Updates from OPM, VA, and Navy

shutterstock_178664090 October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (#CyberAware) and given the number of public sector organizations at risk, it is absolutely the time for agency CIOs to stand-up and pay attention to current cyber security strategies.

Below are a few tips and interesting strategies from the Office of Personal Management (OPM), the Office of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), as well as the U.S.Navy as we acknowledge cyber security awareness:

OPM Security Chief: You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

No one will soon forget the most recent cyber breach at the Office of Personal Management, with an estimated 22.1 million people, having been impacted by the breach, including federal employees, as well as their family and friends.
Likening the breach to Capt. Brody’s shark citing in Jaws, Jeff Wagner, Director of Security Operations, the Office of Personnel Management, said in regard to subsequent breaches, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

At FCW’s recent event, Unified Cybersecurity: Strategies for Accelerated Operations, Wagner shared that everyone has to be on-board to improve and heighten cybersecurity awareness, from the managers to the CIO. He continues, “Cybersecurity professionals are the only ones who can set management up for success…”

New VA CIO Issues Cyber Strategy, Wants to Tackle ‘Quick Wins’

According to Nextgov, Laverne Council, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and Chief Information Officer for Department of Veteran’s Affairs, “pledged to strengthen the agency’s cybersecurity posture.”

Council submitted the VA’s enterprise cyber security strategy to Congress at the end of September, reportedly ahead of schedule.

Council is feeling the pressure as she shared that “the external forces and the internal complexity demand change.” As NextGov noted in the article, the VA is subject to “millions of malware and intrusion attempts every month.” Council’s words of change have not fallen on deaf ears and indicate that VA leadership understands the need to act now.

Analysis: Fed Cybersecurity Spend Quintupled from FY2011 to FY2014

And act now, they are. Consider for a moment that a recent study, covered on FedScoop, reports that the amount federal agencies spent on cybersecurity increased five times over from 2011 to 2014, with the largest portion of that spent on ‘offensive cyber.’

The report finds that “[T]hirty-one billion dollars were spent in fiscal year 2014…rising from $6 billion in fiscal year 2011.”

Cybersecurity Fears are Making U.S. Sailors Learn to Navigate by the Stars Again

Did you know that the U.S. Navy stopped teaching new sailors how to steer a ship by the stars nearly 20 years ago?

But with recent increases in cyber-attacks and breaches, the U.S. Navy is now considering bringing star gazing back into the curriculum for new recruits. Having ceased teaching the skill in 2006, celestial navigation is making a comeback at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

Lieutenant Commander Ryan Rogers, Deputy Chairman of the Naval Academy’s Department of Seamanship and Navigation, told the Gazette, “We went away from celestial navigation because computers are great…The problem is, there’s no backup.”

To learn more about the pressure CIOs are feeling in regard to Cyber Security, Data Management, Fraud and Consolidation/Modernization efforts, click here.


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