GAO: Cybersecurity and interoperability concerns for Federal usage of Internet of Things technology

“A new audit indicates many federal agencies use internet of things technologies and likely plan to continue using them into the future, but cybersecurity and interoperability concerns remain.”

“The Government Accountability Office surveyed 115 chief information officers and senior information technology officials, largely based on CIO Council membership. In addition, GAO surveyed the Commerce and Homeland Security departments, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA. Of the 90 respondents, 56 say their agency uses internet of things technologies.”

“Most often, agencies report using IoT for controlling or monitoring systems or equipment, controlling access to devices or facilities or to track physical assets like fleet vehicles. In terms of benefits, agencies said IoT helps them collect more data and increase operational efficiencies…”

“One of IoT technology’s major selling points is that it frees up employees to perform higher-level work by streamlining and automating rote tasks. The GAO report confirms federal agencies saw higher levels of efficiency. IoT allowed 43 of the responding agencies ‘to accomplish more with the same resources…’”

“The audit comes as a significant IoT cybersecurity bill advances in Congress. The House passed a bill Tuesday that would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop guidelines on the use of IoT devices and the management of their vulnerabilities.”

“The Office of Management and Budget along with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would use NIST’s guidelines to develop standards for agencies to follow when purchasing IoT devices. Federal contractors and subcontractors would also have to comply with the guidelines in order to coordinate vulnerability disclosures.”

“The GAO audit appears to demonstrate the need for such a bill. In two instances documented in the report, cybersecurity problems prevented agencies from adopting or continuing to use IoT altogether. More than 40 agencies surveyed said cybersecurity was ‘somewhat’ to ‘very’ challenging for IoT…” Read the full article here.

Source: GAO: Majority of Agencies Use Connected Devices But Hurdles Remain – By Mila Jasper, September 17, 2020. Nextgov.

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