Advance enterprise IT at NCAR and UCAR

Surrounding NCAR’s computational and data services is an IT enterprise with many cross-cutting issues that must be managed across organizational boundaries. These include processes for adopting technology to maintain interoperability, responsibility for the collective cybersecurity posture of NCAR/UCAR, and coordinating network infrastructure.

Developing an enterprise architecture (EA) has been foundational to our approach to enterprise IT. EA is the discipline of translating an organization’s vision and strategy into effective business practices combined with information technology infrastructure to support those practices. The EA is a joint effort between CISL/OSD and UCAR Finance and Administration, and it supports the strategic plans of both UCAR and CISL. A separate standalone IT UCAR Strategic Plan was finalized, and it is summarized in the graphic below.

UCAR IT strategy
This is a summary of UCAR’s Information Technology strategy for the next two years.


There were many advances in enterprise IT during FY2016. Cybersecurity efforts saw a formal rollout of FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) with the goal of FISMA Low certification for the general organization and FISMA Moderate for projects requiring this higher level of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity achievements include establishment of a Security Chief Information Officer with the CISL Director serving in this role, establishment of a new corporate Policy 1-7 outlining governance for cybersecurity, creating a FISMA/Cybersecurity Risk team, publishing the NSF strategic security plan and policies, coordinating FISMA project responses, and deploying continuous monitoring processes. Other enterprise IT accomplishments include networking enhancements at the NWSC to support the new Cheyenne supercomputer and at NCAR’s Mauna Loa Solar Observatory to upgrade their Wide area network for new instruments. The uninterruptible power supply at the Mesa Lab Computing Facility was upgraded with a right-sized system that improves the system’s efficiency by 13 percent.

This effort is supported primarily by UCAR indirect funds. FISMA efforts also receive project funding to cover the costs for FISMA certification above the “low” level. The MLCF renovation was funded by NSF Special funds.