[ISN] Legacy IT, legacy acquisition compound cyber risk

http://fcw.com/articles/2015/09/17/legacy-it-risk.aspx By Adam Mazmanian FCW.com Sep 17, 2015 The way the government buys technology can constrain efforts to protect federal systems from cybersecurity threats, says Michael Daniel, the top White House advisor on cybersecurity. Federal agencies continue to rely on legacy systems that are vulnerable to intrusions and hard to secure. “The burden of legacy in government is a huge one,” Daniel said at the Billington Cybersecurity Conference in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 17. Government is struggling with the problem of how to move off of old systems. “We have architectures and hardware and software in places that is indefensible, no matter how much money and talent we put on it. We don’t have a good process for moving off,” Daniel said. Security measures are often bolted on to older hardware, software and operating systems, “rather than being deeply embedded in the product,” Daniel said. Compounding the problem are legacy acquisition methods. “We treat computer systems as a gigantic capital investment like a building, rather than investments you need to continually refresh,” Daniel said. But moving to a more flexible budgeting and acquisition system, to allow for revolving funds and other more nimble financial instruments, requires new law. “We’re going to need some help from Congress. There’s a very strong resistance to making some of those shifts among a lot of folks on the Hill,” he said. […]