GSA will revive security working group

The General Services Administration will re-establish a governmentwide working group to evaluate telecommunications security and draft standards.

The effort will be part of GSA's Multitier Security Profile Program, an effort to package security services for agencies, said John Johnson, assistant commissioner for service development at GSA's Federal Technology Service. He said the working group would be in place within two months.

FTS established a similar working group in 2003 when it first developed a set of four security tiers for telecomm services, but the agency disbanded the group once it had defined the four levels' criteria.

Because of the importance of security, the new group will remain in place indefinitely, Johnson said at a breakfast in Falls Church, Va., sponsored by Input of Reston, Va. It will build on the early work to look at changes in telecomm security needs and recommend standards, he said.

For instance, "we want the working group to make sure the latest security requirements are included in the Networx program," he said, referring to the FTS 2001 replacement buy currently under way. "The group will create an environment that will stay apprised of the latest threats and ensure that the threats are properly addressed in the contract through modifications and other means."

Industry groups and vendors will advise the working group but will not be a part of it, Johnson said.

He added that most agencies are requesting telecommunications services with a Tier 2 rating from industry. This level includes firewalls, antivirus protection, managed intrusion detection, virtual private network service, and on-site security and network management.

Johnson also noted that agencies are buying more IP networking as a way to integrate disparate services into one network, lower costs and improve services.

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