Can we ensure that Open Data is useful AND secure?

Paper #1: Can we ensure that Open Data is useful AND secure?


A federal agency has asked your cybersecurity consulting firm to provide it with a white paper that discusses the issues of usefulness and security in regards to Open Data. The white paper is intended for a group of executives at the agency who are opposed to the planned conversion of its current controlled distribution for several highly valuable and frequently requested datasets (DVDs purchased through the Government Printing Office) to OPEN Data distribution via the government’s Data.Gov portal (website). Currently, these data sets are purchased by businesses and academic institutions and are used for a variety of purposes.

A customer satisfaction survey revealed that purchasers are willing to change over to the new Open Data distribution method for data sets. But, the agency head has received phone calls from several large and politically well-connected customers who expressed concerns 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)

e.Non-repudiation of data sets



Write a three to five page white paper which includes a summary of your research. You should focus upon clarity and conciseness more than 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 which 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 ) which can impact the usefulness of Open Data and how these issues are currently being addressed by the federal policies and plans for Open Data. Again, you should 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.

  • 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

  • Consult the grading rubric for specific content and formatting requirements for this assignment.
  • Your 3-5 page white paper 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.
  • Your paper should use standard terms and definitions for cybersecurity. See Course Content > Cybersecurity Concepts Review for recommended resources.
  • 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,Nov2014).docx.
  • 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.
  • You are expected to 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.
  • You are expected to 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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