Challenges from all sides beset CISOs

Challenges from all sides beset CISOs
Challenges from all sides beset CISOs 

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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