By Tech. Sgt. Terri Paden, 15th Wing Public Affairs
“Excellent” was the grade the 747th Communications Squadron (747th CS) received recently during a command cyber readiness inspection.
The one-week Department of Defense level inspection tested the squadron’s ability to maintain network security and operations.
According to 1st Lt. Lance Larsen, 747th CS network operation officer-in-charge, the squadron’s inspection score was not only the best score to date for a large installation, but also the second highest score in the Air Force ever.
“A score of excellent means that our network is secure and that we are doing the best job we can,” said Larsen. “It’s also a good indicator of how vulnerable or at risk our network might be. Our job is not just to provide network access; it’s to provide secure network access.”
Though the squadron spent countless man hours over the last year preparing for the inspection, Larsen said the unit’s success is in part due to support from the base.
“The users contributed a lot to help us during this inspection,” he said. “Traditional security—like not leaving CACs in their machines—is what we rely heavily on users for. We can control technical things like patches and configurations but we can’t control users and their physical security. It’s good to know users understand their role and are doing their best to secure our cyber domain.”
According to Lt. Col. Jeff Guimarin, 747th CS commander, the squadron’s grade on the inspection is a big win for the unit and for Team Hickam.
“I’m very proud of what our 747th Communications Squadron cyber experts did to seek out and mitigate security vulnerabilities on such a diverse and complex network,” he said.
“They’ve set the bar high for the next inspection, but most importantly they greatly enhanced network security for mission critical Air Force systems and that is what this was all about.”
Now that the bi-annual inspection has passed, Larsen said the squadron will focus its efforts on maintaining the network’s excellent state.
“We should be at a steady state now,” he said. “We shouldn’t let our guard down because there are no inspectors walking around.
“The point isn’t to get ready for an inspection, pass it, and then let the network become vulnerable. It’s to maintain a secure network at all times. We have to continue to be good stewards of the network and safeguard our FOUO and classified information,” Larsen said.