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Combating Cyber Threats for the U.S. Department of Energy

EES forms high level team, delivers essential security support within 60 days

The Challenge

As the Department of Energy works to protect its computer networks and vast array of data assets, the federal agency needed an integrated project team and a system of best practices to help provide total cyber security support to a complex nationwide operation.

The Solution

In response to DOE’s high priority requirements, EES put together a well-qualified project team in 60 days that could work with DOE to provide total cyber security support. The support included activities related to the secure transmission and storage of electronic information, drafting cyber security policy and procedures, providing user awareness training, risk management, internal or external auditing, and support for certifications and accreditations.

Our team delivered integrated solutions involving seven areas:

Network Security Operations

EES provided network security operations and engineering necessary in the ever-changing DOE cyber security environment.  Our teams designed, implemented, monitored, and maintained all DOE Headquarters firewalls and intrusion detection systems and performed regular network vulnerability scanning. The support team also performed network and wireless vulnerability scanning and reporting and tracked corrective actions, providing 24x7 support to respond to security threats and ensure continuity of operations. Finally, we managed the DOE virus protection program to analyze, implement, and monitor anti-virus protection policies, procedures, software, and hardware to prevent infection of DOE IT systems.

Cyber Policy Support

EES supported program policy and governance processes to assist the OCIO in developing, maintaining, overseeing, and measuring the effectiveness of the implementation of policies and procedures to ensure the security of DOE's Common Operating Environment (COE) information and information systems.

We provided other cyber policy solutions that:

  • Supported compliance review and technology review processes
  • Supported Cyber Performance Measurement to ensure that OMB policy and NIST standards and guidance are cost-effectively implemented; weaknesses are defined; corrective action plans are tracked; and feedback is provided to DOE officials and OMB
  • Maintained the Cyber Security Action Plan to reflect current Cyber Security program planning and to provide and maintain a schedule for budget planning and execution
  • Provided Security Training and Outreach Support for various cyber security training, awareness, and outreach activities, such as the Annual Cyber Security Conference
  • Supported Office of Cyber Security budget execution
  • Supported Office of Cyber Security enterprise architecture (EA) by establishing an EA that is aligned with the DOE's strategic goals, thereby promoting standard architectural practices.


Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) Support

EES’ team supported the Office of Cyber Security asset and configuration management to comply with FISMA and the President's Management Agenda (PMA) to ensure adequate security for DOE IT assets. EES assisted DOE in updating the FISMA Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&Ms) to report and consolidate data for use by OCIO and DOE program officials in managing corrections and addressing underlying causes of security weaknesses.

Risk and Vulnerability Assessments

The team provided DOE support nationwide to plan, develop, and implement all aspects of the DOE Communications Security (COMSEC), DOE Emissions Security (TEMPEST), and DOE Telecommunications Security programs.

Certification and Accreditation (C&A)

We supported C&A and self-assessment activities for all DOE HQ IT assets, networks, systems, and applications. These assessments ensured the reliability and accessibility of systems and defended against unauthorized access to the systems and data that customers use. Our team also provided senior Departmental managers with an assessment of each program office within DOE.  The purpose was to evaluate against established DOE Headquarters’ policies and procedures that ensure the reliability and accessibility of the Department's information systems.  The assessment also served to prevent and defend against unauthorized access to the systems, networks, and data used by DOE Headquarters and its customers.

Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) and Testing

To guard against threats, our team developed disaster recovery (DR) and continuity of operations (COOP) plans, then supported these plans by implementing back up data center capabilities.  Team members participated in COOP exercises and collecting lessons learned, and implemented recommendations from the COOP exercises to mitigate risks going forward.

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Support

To assess the criticality of DOE Cyber Infrastructure assets, we used a three-phase method to identify and prioritize critical DOE national-level assets, analyze DOE HSPD-12 relevant assets, and analyze the dependency of these assets on critical national infrastructure systems. We provided day-to-day operational administration of all Certificate Authority (CA) and directory software, backups, archives, and PKI directories in accordance with the CONOPS, Certificate Policy (CP), Certificate Practice Statement (CPS), and other DOE-approved operational documents. In addition the team provided configuration support of all PKI and PKI-related (directory, archive, Hardware Security Modules (HSM), etc.) hardware platforms for all CAs and all Registration Authorities (RAs) belong to the Headquarters CA. Finally, we established a technical solution in compliance with HSPD-12 and Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 201 (FIPS 201) that requires the deployment of standards-based identification (ID) cards for all federal employees and designated contractors. This solution requires the new ID card to be a smart card form factor containing PKI-based digital certificates. In support of this program, we established an integrated project team to perform the following services:

  • Smart card engineering
  • PKI and directory services engineering
  • Identity management system engineering
  • Production deployment of the smart card system and PKI
  • Training material development

The Results

Throughout the project, EES relied on our experienced Cyber Security team to carry out all aspects of the DOE headquarters cyber security operations.  Our support resulted in:

  • Successful management and implementation of security technologies, practices, and procedures to protect DOE HQs IT assets.
  • Complete transformation of the help desk technicians' response metrics and creation of an efficient knowledge base of all pertinent information about incidents and solutions.


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