20 Nov, 2017

Federal CIOs Are Struggling With Software Licensing According To FITARA

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If you are a security professional, chances are you know what the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard is. This scorecard is used for federal CIOs but should be used as a guideline for corporate CIOs. On November 14, a new scorecard was released in order to grade government agencies.

Federal CIOs were put under fire after the release of this scorecard, and only three agencies saw improvements, where 15 were declined and given bad grades.

FITARA Background

The FITARA was created in 2014 in order to promote IT modernization and strengthen how the federal IT workforce is carried out. The scorecard was created by Congress and the Government Accountability Office in order to develop a scorecard that is able to determine how much agencies are working to integrate FITARA into business efforts. The grading system works from A to F.

The first scorecard was released November 2015, then the last one was released June 2017.

Any type of IT infrastructure is taken into consideration for the FITARA. According to NIST functions, IT can relate to any hardware, software, and telecommunications equipment that is used in agencies.

‘Any services or equipment, or interconnected system(s) or subsystem(s) of equipment, that are used in the automatic acquisition, storage, analysis, evaluation, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information by the agency;” NIST reports. 

As technology continues to be such a strong force in IT environments, it is crucial for professionals to adapt to things like software and equipment in the most effective way possible. FITARA is a guideline that helps promote this. Agencies must be aware of what is comprised of their networks at all times in order to be secure.

According to NIST, the priorities of the FITARA are as followed:

  1. Enhancing the Authority of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  2. Enhancing Transparency and Improved Risk Management in Information Technology Investments
  3. Requiring Savings through IT Portfolio Review
  4. Expanding Training and Use of Information Technology Cadres
  5. Consolidating Federal Data Centers (FDCCI/DCOI)
  6. Maximizing the Benefit of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (SSI)
  7. Expanding Government-wide Software Purchasing Programs

The Latest Hearing

In the latest hearing surrounding FITARA, many agencies received an “F” score when it came to software licensing.

“Software licensing was added to the scorecard, with an exhaustive list of 17 of the 24 graded agencies receiving an ‘F’ score. The failure is a cause for alarm because it indicates that agencies are unaware of what is in their networks, according to David Powner, IT director of the Government Accountability Office.” CIO Dive reports. 

The fire that was put under federal CIOs had a lot to do with the lack of successful implantation of software into networks. The scoring reflects just how well agencies are succeeding with digital hygiene, like keeping networks up to date, and technology successfully integrated. The hearing focused on the cloud, which has taken the IT industry by storm.

Data center optimization was also the talk of discussion during the latest hearing, like reducing the number of data centers. The FITARA is under approval for the extension, which will put more funding into federal CIO agencies in order to promote modernization for the future.

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