OPEN Data Initiatives

Cybersecurity for OPEN Data Initiatives

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Number of words 1763
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A federal agency has asked your cybersecurity consulting firm to provide it with a research report that examines the issues of usefulness and security in regards to Open Data. The report is intended for a group of executives at the agency who are currently involved in converting paper-based data sets to digital formats for distribution via digital government websites. This report is particularly important as the agency head has received inquiries from Congressional staff members who are conveying concerns that various elected officials have about potential issues with the integrity and authenticity of downloaded data. The agency’s executives were also surveyed and they provided the following security-related items in a list of concerns for the planned conversion to an Open Data delivery method:
a. Confidentiality / Privacy (ensuring proper redaction)
b. Data integrity
c. Data authenticity
d. Availability (reliability) of the Open Data service (website, network infrastructure)
e. Non-repudiation of data sets


1. Read / Review the weekly readings. Pay special attention to EO 13800 and the Federal Cybersecurity Risk Determination Report and Action Plan.
2. Research the federal government’s OPEN Data mandate. Here are some sources that you may find useful:
a. Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset – OMB Memorandum M-13-13(PDF file is in the week 2 readings). This Memorandum includes significant discussion of security issues and policy solutions including references to FIPS 199 and NIST SP-800-53)
b. U.S. Open Data Action Plan (see file us_open_data_action_plan.pdf in week 2 readings).
e. Guidance for Providing and Using Administrative Data for Statistical Purposes – OMB Memorandum M-14-06 (PDF file is in the week 2 readings). This Memorandum includes discussion of privacy and security issues arising from the use of information collected for statistical purposes (e.g. the Census, employment, economic data, etc.).

3. Research how government information, e.g. OPEN Data, is used by businesses and the general public. Here are some sources to get you started:

a. 7 Ways Companies Are Using the Government’s Open Data
b. Government open data prove a treasure trove for savvy businesses
c. Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information

4. Research the issues that can arise when businesses depend upon the confidentiality, integrity, availability, authenticity, and non-repudiation of government-provided Open Data. Suggested sources include:

a. Authenticating Digital Government Information
b. Legal and Institutional Challenges for Opening Data Across Public Sectors
c. Risk Analysis to Overcome Barriers to Open Data
d. Reconciling Contradictions of Open Data Regarding Transparency, Privacy, Security and Trust
5. Find five or more best practice recommendations for ensuring the security (confidentiality, integrity, availability, authenticity, non-repudiation) of information provided by the federal government through its OPEN Data initiative. N.B. For the purposes of this assignment, you may treat “licensing” concerns as an “availability” issue.


Write a five to seven-page research report which includes a summary of your research. You should focus upon clarity and conciseness more than a length when determining what content to include in your paper. At a minimum, your summary must include the following:
1. An introduction or overview of OPEN Data that provides definitions and addresses the laws, regulations, and policies which require federal agencies to identify and publish datasets and information collections. Discuss the role of the executive branch’s Open Data / Open Government policies in making data available via Data.Gov. This introduction should be suitable for an executive audience.
2. A separate section in which you discuss the value (benefits) of Open Data. This section should provide several specific examples of how government-provided Open Data is being used by businesses and the general public.
3. A separate section in which you address security issues (confidentiality, integrity, availability, authenticity, and non-repudiation) that can impact the availability and usefulness of Open Data. Discuss how these issues are currently being addressed by the federal government. Provide examples of issues and mitigations or solutions.
4. A section in which you address best practice recommendations for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, availability, authenticity, and non-repudiation of Open Data. Your recommendations should address the use of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and security & privacy controls from NIST SP 800-53.
5. A separate section in which you summarize your research and recommendations.
Submit For Grading
Submit your white paper in MS Word format (.docx or .doc file) using the OPEN Data Assignment in your assignment folder. (Attach the file.)

Additional Information

1. Consult the grading rubric for specific content and formatting requirements for this assignment.
2. Your 5- to 7-page research report should be professional in appearance with consistent use of fonts, font sizes, margins, etc. You should use headings and page breaks to organize your paper.
3. Your paper should use standard terms and definitions for cybersecurity.
4. The CSIA program recommends that you follow standard APA formatting since this will give you a document that meets the “professional appearance” requirements. APA formatting guidelines and examples are found under Course Resources > APA Resources. An APA template file (MS Word format) has also been provided for your use CSIA_Basic_Paper_Template(APA_6ed,DEC2018).docx.
5. You must include a cover page with the assignment title, your name, and the due date. Your reference list must be on a separate page at the end of your file. These pages do not count towards the assignment’s page count.
6. You should write grammatically correct English in every assignment that you submit for grading. Do not turn in any work without (a) using spell check, (b) using grammar check, (c) verifying that your punctuation is correct and (d) reviewing your work for correct word usage and correctly structured sentences and paragraphs.
7. You must credit your sources using in-text citations and reference list entries. Both your citations and your reference list entries must follow a consistent citation style (APA, MLA, etc.).

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