Department of Homeland Security: Falling Short in Securing Cyberspace on the State and Local Level   [open pdf - 151KB]

"Protecting the nation's cyberspace is a job tasked primarily to the Department of Homeland Security (Department), created in 2002 to consolidate federal agencies for the common purpose of improving national security. In addition to protecting federal cyber infrastructure, one of the Department's primary obligations in securing cyberspace is to provide assistance to state and local governments in identifying vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and offer training and technical assistance in securing those vulnerabilities. Protecting state and local cyberspace is critical to achieving success in the field: state and local systems contain sensitive information, including personal data (like medical records, financial information, and proprietary business information), security-related data, and a wide range of other information that must be kept secure. Unfortunately, a joint survey conducted by the National Association of State Chief Informational Officers (NASCIO) and the Metropolitan Information Exchange (MIX) released this week suggests the Department is falling short in fulfilling its basic obligations to state and local governments. Though the Department created several initiatives geared towards assisting and improving state and local protection, additional steps to improve training, communications, an d coordination must be taken to achieve truly national cyber security. This analysis will describe the current federal and state responsibilities in securing cyberspace, summarize the findings of the NASCIO/MIX national survey, and suggest specific areas that the Department can improve to better assist state and local governments."

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