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National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence: A Promising Fortress

It is one thing to recognize cyber threats and their potential to disrupt entire companies, agencies and institutions. It is another thing to do something about it. In light of recent threats we cannot sit still and wait for the next one.

On February 18, I was honored to join Governor O’Malley, Senator Mikulski, NIST director Pat Gallagher, and Montgomery County Chief Executive Ike Leggett in the partnership agreement signing ceremony to expand the National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence in Montgomery County.  Federal and Maryland officials signed the agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg to develop new cybersecurity technology and educational opportunities. Read More »

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User Behavior and Training Critical to Secure Mobility

Worker mobility has become an essential practice for government agencies. From teleworking on the road to accessing critical data on your smart phone, mobility increases productivity and employee satisfaction. And the trend toward mobility is growing. In fact, the Cisco Visual Networking Index predicts there will be more than 10 billion mobile devices worldwide by 2017. With the increased proliferation of mobile devices comes the need to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place so agencies can take advantage of increased capabilities while still maintaining high levels of security.

By and large, government agencies are doing a good job of balancing the need for mobility with security requirements. However, according to a new study by Mobile Work Exchange, which was commissioned by Cisco, 41 percent of government employees are putting agencies at risk with secure mobility habits. Clearly, there is some room for improvement. MWEhotzone

The study used the Secure Mobilometer, an online self-assessment tool, to capture data from end-users and agencies. The tool ranked their mobility habits based on practices of user inputs, password protection, data loss prevention, mobile device policies and security training.

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Cybersecurity: Where are the Biggest Threats?

Rarely a week goes by that we don’t hear of a database compromise that results in confidential data—many times consisting of personally identifiable information (PII)—falling into the hands of those who should not have access to the data. Protection of our PII is becoming increasingly critical as more and more information is collected and stored through the use of Internet-enabled devices.

The following is an excerpt from a recent post by Patrick Finn, Senior Vice President of Cisco’s U.S. Public Sector Organization, that focuses on the threat of data breaches impacting government organizations and provides some guidelines for how these organizations can assess and remediate these threats.

“Cyber crimes, cyber thievery, and cyber warfare have become an everyday reality. In fact, security breaches are so prevalent that, according to a new study from the National Cyber Security Alliance and a private sector firm, 26 percent of Americans have been the victims of a data breach in the past 12 months alone. Not only do breaches reduce citizens’ trust in government to protect their confidential data, they also cost government agencies a significant amount of money. For most CIOs and other government keepers of data, these statistics prompt one immediate question – “Can this happen to us?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is: yes, it can.”

For more on this topic please visit Patrick Finn’s entire post over on the Cisco Government Blog.

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Celebrating our Servicemen and Women on Veterans Day

A sincere thank you to all of those who are serving or who have served in the US military. We live freely today because you put your life on the line to protect all that we hold dear.veterans day

“The Flag does not fly because of the winds that blow it,

The Flag flies because of each Soldier’s last breath blowing past.”

“For those who have fought and died for it,

freedom has a taste that the protected will never know.”

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him,

but because he loves what is behind him.”

– G. K. Chesterton

As some of you know, my holiday season begins with the Marine’s Birthday and Veterans Day.  The holiday season has always been a time for family and gratitude.  I always find it fitting that these two days to honor our heroes are in the same month as Thanksgiving.  So it is with tremendous honor and gratitude that I wish our Marines a Happy Birthday and our Veterans, past and present, a Happy Veterans Day. Read More »

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Cybersecurity: Where are the Biggest Threats?

Cyber Crime: Identifying the Sources of an Everyday Threat

Cyber crimes, cyber thievery, and cyber warfare have become an everyday reality. In fact, security breaches are so prevalent that, according to a new study from the National Cyber Security Alliance and a private sector firm, 26 percent of Americans have been the victims of a data breach in the past 12 months alone. Not only do breaches reduce citizens’ trust in government to protect their confidential data, they also cost government agencies a significant amount of money. For most CIOs and other government keepers of data, these statistics prompt one immediate question – “Can this happen to us?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is: yes, it can. Read More »

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