Nextgov: GSA Could Be Vulnerable to Security Threats From ‘Trusted Insiders’

“The General Services Administration needs to bolster its efforts to protect against insider threats from current and recently separated employees, a watchdog reported on Wednesday.

The GSA inspector general reviewed the agency’s processes to thwart harmful actions from ‘trusted insiders’ to its personnel, facilities, operations and resources. GSA has about 12,000 employees throughout its central office, Federal Acquisition Service, Public Buildings Service, Office of Governmentwide Policy, 11 national staff offices, 11 regional offices and two independent offices. An October 2011 executive order and subsequent policy from November 2012 laid out requirements for agencies’ insider threat programs. In 2014, GSA established its own program (a two-person team that reports to the senior designated official who is the associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Mission Assurance) and in 2017 the National Insider Threat Task Force certified it met the minimum standards. However, the inspector general found some areas of concern since then.

‘We found that GSA’s [insider threat program] does not consistently collaborate with other GSA staff offices to gather key threat information proactively and does not communicate insider threat risks and program challenges to the GSA administrator as required,’ said the report. ‘Instead, the [program] senior designated official has taken a reactive approach that leaves GSA susceptible to insider threats.’…”

“As a result of its review, the watchdog recommended that agency leadership take action to bolster cross-agency communication and collaboration with the insider threat program as well as increase its oversight of the separation and termination process for employees to ensure the program is aware of any potential risks.

Katy Kale, acting GSA administrator, said the agency agrees with the recommendations. She also noted that although the working group was disbanded, ‘collaboration has taken place on a routine, but informal basis’ and stressed the importance of this issue at the agency…” Read the full article here.

Source: GSA Could Be Vulnerable to Security Threats From ‘Trusted Insiders’ – By Courtney Bublé, February 22, 2021. Nextgov.

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