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House Admin Unveils New Data Service

Until an offsite computing facility is fully operational later this year, House offices will soon have the option to secure their data weekly through a contract procured by the chief administrative officer.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent out Wednesday, the House Administration Committee detailed the service, which entails moving “mission-critical data to a secure vault facility outside of the Washington metropolitan area.”

The data will be held at the location for two weeks and will be transported in secure vehicles. The data protection process is centrally funded by the House will be administered by records-management firm Iron Mountain beginning May 15.

Both Members’ personal offices and committees are eligible, and forms can be found on HouseNet.

The Alternate Computing Facility is run by the Architect of the Capitol and eventually will allow offices to store data in an undisclosed facility outside of D.C. The facility is expected to be completely operational in the middle to latter part of this year, according to House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio).

Also in the area of information security, the committee introduced a new policy to protect electronic materials. In a separate “Dear Colleague” letter, Ney and ranking member John Larson (D-Conn.) announced a wireless network security policy that “establishes guidelines and minimum standards for setting up and maintaining wireless networks on the House campus.”

Wireless networks consist of Wireless Local Area Networks and Web-enabled, handheld devices such as PDAs and Tablet PCs. The policy establishes minimum requirements for all devices attached to the House data network and ensures that no rogue devices jeopardize the system’s integrity. The Information Systems Security Office is conducting audits of all WLANs and wireless network devices on the House campus. Devices that do not meet the established minimum requirements will not be permitted to operate until necessary security improvements are made.

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