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[ISN] OMB unveils FISMA how-to
By Florence Olsen
Aug 27, 2004
Office of Management and Budget officials this month released final
instructions to federal agencies for filing mandatory reports on their
systems security efforts in 2004. 
The annual compliance reports, a requirement under the Federal
Information Security Management Act, must be filed by Oct. 6, this
year. The 28 pages of instructions include a reporting template and
expanded definitions of terms and concepts associated with FISMA.
OMB Director Joshua Bolten noted in his instructions that all security
requirements established by FISMA apply to all agencies, regardless of
their size. The reporting requirements for small agencies, which OMB
officials define as microagencies, are slimmed down, he said. But the
actual security requirements are the same for all agencies.
Microagencies are ones with fewer than 100 employees.
Any organization that operates, uses or simply has access to federal
information systems must also comply with FISMA, Bolton reminded
agency officials. Contractors, grantees, state and local governments,
industry partners-none are exempted, the OMB guidelines state.
The new guidelines also give federal agencies a Sept. 15, 2005,
deadline for categorizing their transactions systems according to
recommended user-authentication levels published by the National
Institute of Standards and Technology. The technical recommendations
for verifying users' identities online appear in NIST Special
Open Source Vulnerability Database (OSVDB) Everything is Vulnerable - http://www.osvdb.org/