Information Security: Department of Homeland Security Needs to Fully Implement Its Security Program Page: 13 of 36
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DHS Uses a Variety of
Systems to Support Its
Information Security is
Critical for Agencies to
The department uses a variety of major applications and general support
systems to support its operations. A major application is one that requires
special attention due to the risk and magnitude of harm resulting from the
loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to or modification of the information
in the application. A general support system is an interconnected set of
information resources under the same direct management control that
shares common functionality. It normally includes hardware, software,
information, data, applications, communications and people and can be, for
example, a local area network or communications network.
Many of these applications and systems serve specific requirements unique
to individual component's missions and result in interoperability issues,
data management concerns, and incompatible environments or
duplicative/inefficient processes. As noted in DHS's March 2004
Information Resource Management Strategic Plan, DHS's CIO has
established the goal of forming one network and one information
technology infrastructure to facilitate information sharing within the
department and among DHS and external federal, state, and local agencies.
Information security is a critical consideration for any organization that
depends on information systems and computer networks to carry out its
mission. It is especially important for government agencies, where
maintaining the public's trust is essential. The dramatic expansion in
computer interconnectivity and the rapid increase in the use of the Internet
are changing the way our government, the nation, and much of the world
communicate and conduct business. Without proper safeguards, they also
pose enormous risks that make it easier for individuals and groups with
malicious intent to intrude into inadequately protected systems and use
such access to obtain sensitive information, commit fraud, disrupt
operations, or launch attacks against other computer systems and
Protecting the computer systems that support critical operations and
infrastructures has never been more important because of the concern
about attacks from individuals and groups, including terrorists. These
concerns are well-founded for a number of reasons, including the dramatic
increase in reports of security incidents, the ease of obtaining and using
hacking tools, the steady advance in the sophistication and effectiveness of
attack technologies, and the dire warnings of new and more destructive
attacks to come.
GAO-05-700 DHS Information Security
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Information Security: Department of Homeland Security Needs to Fully Implement Its Security Program, report, June 17, 2005; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295505/m1/13/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.