Making sure your computer system satisfactorily goes through Information Assurance (IA) Certification and Accreditation (C&A) is the same as getting your car inspected. It ensures your system meets the official minimum security and IA maintenance standards. It also prevents equipment failures and crashes on the vital and very congested Army information superhighway, the LandWarNet.
C&A builds availability, integrity and confidentiality into every Army system. It ensures the Army’s LandWarNet is a reliable and formidable tool for the warfighter. By eliminating security weaknesses upfront, the system can get into the fight better, faster and with less chance of shutting down or becoming dangerous for its users due to security breaches.
The C&A process is a logical step-by-step progression of tasks. This means it does not work well if a system owner jumps into step three at the last moment without paying attention to steps one and two. Again, it is like taking care of a car. Think about safety during the manufacturing/building stage. Plan to make it safe. Then during the process make sure it has all the protective elements in place and make sure they work. If this is addressed at the start, then the entire C&A process goes a lot more smoothly. Also, keep it maintained so it can pass the same kind of safety checks over its operational lifetime. Taking the time early saves headaches, time and—most importantly—money at the end.