For the VA, ‘horizon scanning’ means finding better cybersecurity tech

A recent RFI shows the VA's interest in having a managed service provider scout out the latest and greatest in cybersecurity technology.
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The Department of Veteran’s Affairs is on the hunt for a managed service provider that can help find and track emerging technology critical to network defenses, according to a recent request for information.

The RFI noted that the VA needs strong network protection and cyber tools to “protect Veteran data against malicious cyber adversaries.” The VA wants the MSP to do “horizon scanning and tech scouting” on technologies that the department could incorporate into its IT systems.

With the sensitive health and personal information the VA manages, cybersecurity has been critical to its work. But, like leaders at many other federal agencies, officials at the department have acknowledged gaps in its network protection. Other efforts to close those gaps have included training programs and new career paths for VA employees to work in information security. The VA has also been trying to rid its networks of technology from Huawei and other Chinese companies that have been officially labeled as security threats governmentwide.

The MSP technologies should include artificial intelligence-enabled systems to keep up with the cybersecurity market, the RFI states. The use of systems like natural language processing to extract data from academic journals, patent information and other sources would be critical to the tracking system.


The VA also wants the ability to “recognize impactful and disruptive trends by tracking emerging technologies and thought leaders across the ecosystem of startups and venture capital investments.”

“VA seeks a contractor that unites people, processes, and technologies into a demonstrated managed service capable of identifying, incubating, and delivering innovative cyber solutions within a large, integrated Federal healthcare organization,” the RFI states.

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