By Sgt. Logan Thomas
An 11-member team from the Cyber Protection Brigade will conduct Fort Leonard Wood’s Command Cyber Readiness Inspection Monday through March 20.
According to U.S. Army Cyber Command, the inspection validates and improves the security of the Department of Defense Information Network and improves readiness.
Throughout the week, the team will confirm certifications, evaluate network security as well as all areas of traditional security, perform network-based vulnerability scans, and assess compliance with DoD cyber-security policies.
According to Deborah Dowling, Network Enterprise Center Cybersecurity Division chief, the most important thing people need to understand is the CCRI is not just a NEC inspection — it’s a garrison-wide inspection.
“They will be going out to a unit that has a classified area and ensure they’re following all protocols,” Dowling said. “They look at secured areas, they look at the NEC and they’re looking at how the general population is protecting the Army’s data.”
According to Dowling, the team can visit anywhere on post for the inspection and speak with anyone. Leadership at all levels should ensure Soldiers and employees are aware of and practicing cyber-security measures.
CCRI inspections take place every three years, and Dowling said Fort Leonard Wood began specific preparations for this inspection more than six months ago.
“If you have a NEC computer, you may have noticed your background has been changing every few weeks,” Dowling said. “We have been doing that for the last six months as part of an awareness campaign, and we followed that up with emails to users letting them know why it’s important.”
Additionally, Dowling said the NEC has performed multiple courtesy walkthroughs of every secured area that will be inspected and checked all user accounts on the installation twice.
In preparation for the inspection, Dowling recommended everyone practice proper procedures when handling data, including their own.
“The number one thing is to not leave your Common Access Card unattended,” Dowling said. “If an inspector sees that, unfortunately it’s an automatic fail for the entire installation.”
Dowling also emphasized the importance of correctly labeling CDs and hard drives, disposing of documents correctly and properly storing sensitive personally identifiable information.
The NEC recommends users reboot computers at the end of the day and leave them turned on. This allows time in the evenings for the NEC to patch the computers, which keeps them updated with the latest security available.
Dowling said the team of inspectors will update them daily on the results.
“On a daily basis we should know where we stand, based on how much they evaluated that day,” Dowling said. “The inspectors are not here to make us look bad — they’re here to assist us. Look at this as an opportunity to improve.”