Report: Government Web Sites Need More Security

Report: Government Web Sites Need More Security

Government and industry representatives today released a report calling on federal agencies to beef up information security as they move government information and services to the Web.

Keeping data secure must be an integral part of the process, not an afterthought, said David Nelson, deputy chief information officer at NASA.

The report, "Securing Electronic Government," establishes benchmarks for security of Web-based information, government and industry procurement and financial transactions with the public. It was developed from discussions last May among members of the Arlington, Va., Information Technology Association of America and the federal CIO Council and CFO Council.

Government agencies need more money for their information security efforts, said Harris Miller, president of ITAA. "This issue does need to be on the forefront of the appropriations process this year," he said.

The report uses case studies to outline crucial capabilities of agency e-government services. The case studies illustrate that e-gov services must do the following:

*Provide data in a timely manner,

*Allow transactions 24 hours a day,

*Make sure information remains confidential and protected from modification or destruction,

*Confirm the validity of a transaction or message,

*Confirm delivery and receipt of data.

Agencies will be able to use the report immediately to plan for and improve their e-gov operations, said John Gilligan, the Air Force's deputy chief information officer and principal deputy assistant secretary for business and information management.

"Our intent to solicit feedback [from agency officials] in the next few months and recommendations on how to proceed," Gilligan said. The feedback could be used to expand the scope of the benchmarks or provide new detail to make the report more useful, he said.

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