By Henry Kenyon
June 28, 2010
Government agencies rely on their chief information security officers to
stay on top of evolving threats to their information technology systems.
But CISOs must balance a variety of needs and requirements to keep their
organization's networks safe. A panel of government CISOs discussed
these issues at a recent meeting sponsored by the Armed Forces
Communications Electronics Association's Bethesda, Md., chapter.
Moderated by Jerry Davis, NASA's deputy chief information officer for IT
security, the panel examined how CISOs balance their existing mission
needs with new and pending rules, managing new technology trends such as
real-time data monitoring, and working with the vendor community.
Davis noted that the federal government was going through a period of
change as it renewed emphasis on cybersecurity, citing the nearly 40
cyberspace related bills currently under consideration in Congress.
Davis added that the role of the CISO continues to evolve, as they
increasingly assume greater responsibility and authority in their
When asked how they balanced their responsibilities with meeting
established priorities and complying with new regulations, the panelists
offered a range of answers. Patrick Howard, the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission's CISO, said that while he keeps up with his current
responsibilities, he also is watching new legislation; he specifically
cited a proposed law that would allow CISOs to withhold bonuses to
executives and managers who did not meet federal compliance standards.
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