GSA's open office layout vulnerable to theft
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Oct 21, 2014
An after-hours inspection of open office space at the General Services Administration's central office revealed that sensitive information and personal items were readily accessible to thieves, according to a new report.
The unannounced inspection, performed by the GSA Inspector General's Office of Forensic Auditing, Evaluation and Analysis, identified "physical control weaknesses" in the open office area in securing both sensitive information and "highly pilferable government-furnished personal property," the report said.
Inspectors found "numerous incidences" of unsecured items, including personally identifiable information and other sensitive information, an HSPD-12 PIV card, sensitive contract files, architectural drawings marked “Sensitive But Unclassified," and unlocked file cabinets containing sensitive information—as well as "a combination code for a bay of personal lockers that was left directly on top of those lockers, and a door cipher lock combination taped to the back of the door." Other valuable items such as laptops and other electronics also were left unsecured.
A renovation of the office completed in 2013 created an open-space work area that eliminated office suites with locked doors and cubicles in favor of a new layout that uses "open-concept offices" with “hotel desks” that feature personal lockers and locking file cabinets.
"The transition to a more collaborative workspace has increased security risks for vulnerable assets and sensitive information as GSA employees adjust to taking new steps to physically secure property and information in their personal workspaces," the report concluded.
The report recommends that GSA managers and supervisors enforce GSA policies and procedures for the safeguarding of information and property, routinely monitor employees and contractors for security compliance, and assess whether there is sufficient secure storage space available for employees and contractors.