How our company’s public exposure benefited from the government shutdown

Sit back, relax, and read my story about how the Aligned Risk Management team was able to benefit in a most unexpected way from the recent government shutdown.

The longest partial government shutdown in the history of the United States was ended recently. It began on December 22, 2018 after Democrats refused to support a new temporary continuing resolution in the Senate that included approximately $5 billion for the new border wall. Lasting 35 days, the deadlock was resolved on January 25, 2019.

With a 1980 interpretation of the 1884 Antideficiency Act, a “lapse of appropriation” caused by political impasse on proposed appropriation bills requires that the federal government curtail agency activities and services, close down non-essential operations, furlough non-essential workers, and only retain essential employees in departments covering the safety of human life or the protection of property.

This lapse of appropriation impacted the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST is a physical sciences laboratory, and a non-regulatory agency of the US Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. The institute’s activities are organized into laboratory programs. For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the institute’s information technology standards.

NIST has published a great number of excellent standards followed by innumerable business, government agencies, and the like. They’re referred to as NIST Special Publications, which are a type of publication issued by NIST. Specifically, the Special Publication 800-series reports on the Information Technology Laboratory’s research, guidelines, and outreach efforts in computer security, and its collaborative activities with industry, government, and academic organizations

Just days before the shutdown, NIST released the highly anticipated Risk Management Framework 2.0. Because of the shutdown, this directly impacted the availability of this new document as the NIST website was partially taken offline.

For about 35 days, the Aligned Risk Management team […] were unable to review certain NIST Special Publications […].

For about 35 days, the Aligned Risk Management team and the entire country were unable to review certain NIST Special Publications that serve as standards for the information technology industry and related fields.

Aligned Risk Management takes great pride in consolidating the best industry practices in information technology, security, and privacy, and relies on standards set by NIST and other trusted bodies. As such, we were among those that were anticipating the release of the Risk Management Framework 2.0. We published a story related to the release.

Segue.

Everyone these days is aware of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Do your keywords right and you’ll show up better in search results. As a result of our increased focus on our own SEO, the unavailability of the NIST site allowed Aligned Risk Management to pick up on some of the NIST-specific keyword traffic during the shutdown.

Aligned Risk Management’s quantifiable benefits resulting from the partial government shutdown, in the form of Google analytics.

The unavailability of certain web-pages caused Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines to penalize the cached listings of NIST in search results. The timing was perfect, and Aligned Risk Management picked up considerable traffic for search terms related to the NIST Risk Management Framework 2.0 for obvious reasons: our page was available and theirs wasn’t.

In unrelated news, here’s our copy of NIST Special Publication 800-63-3: Digital Identity Guidelines. You know, just in case.

The team at Aligned Risk Management wish to thank President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the United States Senate for allowing us to take such great leaps in public exposure. We promise to use this newfound publicity wisely.

That’s my story. Thanks for reading.