Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Gary Peters, D-Mich., introduced bipartisan legislation on July 28 to strengthen Federal data center security to protect against cyberattacks, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks.  


The Federal Data Center Enhancement Act of 2022 would require the Office of Management and Budget to coordinate a government-wide effort to develop requirements to protect Federal data centers. The focus of those requirements would include cyber intrusions, data center availability, mission-critical uptime, and resilience against physical attacks, wildfires, and other natural disasters.


Data centers are the physical facilities where Federal agencies store critical data and host key IT and cybersecurity infrastructure. And according to lawmakers, the new legislation recognizes that these data centers should meet high standards for resiliency, sustainability, and availability.


“The Federal government is responsible for storing considerable amounts of sensitive and personal information – including credit card and social security numbers. We must ensure this data is stored securely and used in a way that does not violate civil rights and liberties,” said Sen. Peters in a press release. “This important, bipartisan legislation will ensure [the protection of] new and existing Federal data centers … from cyber-attacks, catastrophic weather events, and other potential disasters.”


“The sensitive information stored on Federal systems cannot be left open to vulnerabilities like cyberattacks or natural disasters,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation would help secure Federal data and encourage optimization, which will save taxpayer dollars and protect Americans who entrust their information to the Federal government.”


Since 2010, the Federal government has consolidated more than 6,000 Federal data centers, which has yielded cost savings and cost avoidance totaling at $5.8 billion. According to Sen. Rosen, the new legislation builds on that success, and shifts the policy focus from consolidation to optimization, security, and resiliency.


“This bipartisan bill will enact a new set of security and resiliency standards to keep our data safe,” Sen. Rosen said. 


The Senate bill does not appear to have a companion measure in the House.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.