Information Security (OIS), United States Office of
The Office of Information Security (OIS) is a unit within the General Service Administration (GSA) charged with the protection of computer data for the federal government. It employs a team of skilled technicians and specialists to manage, store, process, and most importantly provide security for electronic information systems. Under the umbrella of the GSA Federal Technology Service (FTS), OIS is part of the critical infrastructure protection system of the federal government.
The mission of OIS is to provide technology security systems to federal agencies to reduce risks and exposure of critical and sensitive information, and to do so in a cost-effective manner. To fulfill this mission, OIS has on staff an experienced group of technical specialists trained in protection and security methods for electronic data. In addition, it is capable of deploying engineers and technicians from the private sector as needed to federal or allied facilities anywhere in the world to meet transmission, storage, and processing requirements.
Among the solutions at the disposal of OIS are firewalls, or systems to prevent unauthorized access of hardware or software to or from a private network. Other techniques and principles applied by OIS include intrusion detection, security planning, risk management, data encryption, contingency planning, configuration management, and network mapping.
In accordance with President Decision Directive (PDD) 63, issued by President William J. Clinton in May 1998, OIS has worked to protect federal critical infrastructure from attacks by computer hackers. In 1999, it began working with firms in the private sector to provide infrastructure security consulting to federal agencies.
Beginning in October 2000, OIS divided its functions between its Information Security Services Center and its new Office of Information Assurance and Critical Infrastructure Protection. FTS took control of the first of these, through which OIS had met customer-service needs with offerings such as the Safeguard Program and the Access Certifications for Electronic Services Program. Meanwhile, the OIS concentrated its efforts in the critical infrastructure protection area, serving the imperatives of PDD–63 by providing cyber attack incident warnings and response services through the Federal Computer Incident Response Capability.
█ FURTHER READING:
Frank, Diane. "GSA Preps Security Pacts." Federal Computer Week 13, no. 6 (March 15, 1999): 1.
Office of Information Security. General Service Administration Federal Technology Service. < http://www.fts.gsa.gov/infosec/ > (March 4, 2003).