How the federal government is working to secure our energy infrastructure

By Jessica Parks, market intelligence analyst

In a previous blog post, immixGroup Supplier Manager Derek Giarratana elaborated on the constant threat of ransomware and how the public sector can address it. Ransomware is one of the significant threats facing American energy infrastructure, as the Colonial pipeline incident has shown.

Federal agencies such as the Department of Energy are spearheading efforts to tackle not just ransomware, but other cyber threats that can jeopardize the safe functioning of energy delivery systems.

Here are three of DOE’s top priorities for securing energy infrastructure:

(1) Monitoring and analytics

Monitoring the grid (the entire network of generators involved in delivering power) and making sense of the data they produce is crucial. Many of the national labs under DOE are working to improve current processes. Labs such as Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Lab have been particularly active in developing solutions to automate grid monitoring, applying predictive analytics to anticipate future cyber events and modeling complex grid infrastructures.

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Federal Tech Priorities in the Next Administration Will Not Change

Lloyd McCoy Jr.

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Senior Manager

Regardless of changes in administration, count on federal government priorities staying steady over the next four years. You can look for continued focus on data use, the cloud and government procurement, as well as supply chain securityparticularly for emerging technologies like 5G.

Why? Many IT initiatives have been codified by laws.

For example, both the SECURE Technology Act and recent National Defense Authorization Act require the federal government to reduce supply chain threats and set criteria for products that may pose risks to the government. For vendors, it’s more important than ever to be able to trace exactly where your products originate.

The Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) allows agencies to apply money to IT modernization programs through working capital funds. The Technology Modernization Fund lets agencies borrow for emergency modernization projects. Vendors would be well advised to pay attention to what agencies are doing here to understand procurement goals. Read more of this post

DHS CISO Talks About Authentication, Supply Chain and Internet Regulation

By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence ManagerLloyd McCoy Jr.

At a recent immixGroup vendor demo day, Paul Beckman, CISO at the Department of Homeland Security, touched on several technological challenges and frustrations that concern him – topics ranging from patching to supply chain risk to the inevitability of security regulations surrounding the internet.

“I want to get out of the patching business,” Beckman noted, asking, “why can’t I go to automatic updates?” “I don’t understand why we’re still relying on the selected pushing of patches,” he continued. A decade ago a service patch might have created the “blue screen of death” on machines, Beckman said, so that even today, “the ops side of the house is telling me, ‘what are we going to do if we get a bad patch?’”

“My response to them is that restore capability has matured greatly in the last decade. Something goes bad in the machine, push a button, you’re back to where you were at midnight last night.” Beckman added that technology has advanced to the point where the bad patch argument can be discounted and end points can go to automatic patching.
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