Case Study SSIMS

Case Study – Personnel Security Automation in the Department of Energy (DOE)

Download the Case Study –  Case Study – Personnel Security Automation in the Department of Energy (DOE)

Challenge
Provide comprehensive Information Technology services and engineering support to enable critical mission requirements for the DOE Safeguards and Security Information Management System (SSIMS)

Highland Solution
Assign highly motivated, fully qualified, security-cleared personnel who are trained and experienced in providing classified system and networking architecture to work as extensions of the AU-52 staff, including participating in tactical and strategic planning and implementation of system and software upgrades.

Results
  • Eliminated 90 end-user workstation equipment, management, and support costs, a savings of $180,000 to $200,000 annually.
  • Eliminated Classified Removable Electronic Media from end-user access.
  • Increased system reliability and network speed with no system down time since November 2007.

 

Customer Profile

The DOE Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) created the Office of Security Assistance (AU-52) to provide timely technical assistance and system support to field and Headquarters elements to enhance site security programs, upon request. The program is comprised of Technologists and Subject Matter Experts from all security disciplines including Program Management, Protection Program Operations, Information Security, Materials Control and Accountability, and Personnel Security. The Office of Security Assistance serves the interests of the Department based upon the needs of our customers – with emphasis on customer-focus and meeting multi-disciplinary security needs.

An integral part of the EHSS security assistance program is the services provided by the Safeguards and Security Information Management System (SSIMS). This powerful classified security information management tool addresses a number of areas of interest to Headquarters and Field Elements. Specifically, the SSIMS provides retrievable data that includes: registration of security interests by facility/contract; FOCI, security surveys, inspections, deficiencies tracking, corrective action plans, deviations to departmental policy, as well as incidents of security concern, inquiry reports, and damage assessments.

Situation

Highland’s responsibility is to the EHSS Office of Security Assistance that reports to the EHSS Director, Office of Security. Highland is responsible for the following functions for the SSIMS to include:

  • Application end-user support
  • Design engineering
  • Application development
  • Application testing
  • Application implementation
  • New user training,
  • Application documentation
  • Operational maintenance
  • Technical Subject Matter Support

Issues/Comments

Quality of the SSIMS system services and ongoing process improvements are critical to AU-52 ability to fulfill its mission. The current SSIMS Highland support staff has been instrumental over the past decade in implementing improvements to deliver high speed end-user access to the classified system and to respond quickly and professionally to end-user technical service requests.

Resolution

The SSIMS support team examined procedures for implementing equipment and supporting infrastructure and identified a way to streamline the processes to enhance software applications and reduce system problems. The on-site team analyzed wide range of technology and developed technical white papers to address implementation scenarios. The team ultimately executed the migration of the SSIMS Oracle application, originally a Client-Server application requiring software loaded on PC workstations and utilizing dial-up Secure Telephone Unit (STU-III) modem (9600bps) connectivity, to a TACLANE encrypted high speed (100 mps) network providing access to the SSIMS via web browser using a diskless Virtual Display Client (VDC) thin-client (cloud) platform from Sun Microsystems.

This VDC technology, which was tested and approved by the DOE Cyber-Forensic Laboratory (CFL) at Headquarters, reduced the cost of system and application maintenance specifically at the end-user point.  Each SSIMS local and remote PC workstation had to be managed, maintained, and secured by local cyber security personnel where as all current SSIMS Sun Ray VDC nodes (now numbering over 100) are completely managed at the server level by the SSIMS support team. Most importantly, the potential for end-user access electronic access to classified SSIMS information via Classified Removable Electronic Media (e.g. PC hard drives, USB thumb drives, etc) has been totally eliminated.

The Highland on-site team continues to administer the SSIMS, a Unix-based information system for HS-52 in addition to its’ ongoing support of the application which includes infrastructure engineering, system analysis and planning, system monitoring and administration, database administration, software programming, operations and maintenance services.

Benefits

Highland has implemented many enhancements and upgrades to the system while replacing aging components with new components, and has been instrumental in decreasing the trouble report and effecting significant reductions in technical assistance related issues. As a SEI CMMi Level II certified company, we have facilitated application of CMMi standards to EHSS’ environment, thereby improving system quality standards, maximizing efficiencies, and reducing costs. Highland meets or exceeds every requirement in the Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Download the Case Study –  Case Study – Personnel Security Automation in the Department of Energy (DOE)

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