CIOs tackle security 'nightmare'
- By John Monroe, Judi Hasson
- May 22, 2000
Three federal chief information officers said that their top priority in
government is protecting the security of their computer systems.
This month's "love bug" attacks underscored how unprepared systems are
to counter cyberattacks, the CIOs said at Federal Sources Inc.'s Outlook
2001 conference in Falls Church, Va.
Speaking at the conference were Joseph Leo, Agriculture Department CIO;
John Gilligan, Energy Department CIO; and Paul Brubaker, acting deputy CIO
at the Defense Department.
"Computer security is at the top of my heap of priorities," Gilligan
said. DOE is restructuring its CIO organization to put more emphasis on
cybersecurity and to "upgrade the emphasis across the board" on oversight
and policy rules and responsibilities, he said.
"There are lots of back doors to the Internet, which makes security
a nightmare to manage," Brubaker said.
Asked to list their top priorities for 2001, the officials said they
included better management and new blood to replace workers who are retiring
or going to the private sector for more money.
"We're losing staff. We have a tremendous skill gap with regard to the
Internet Age," Leo said.
Among their other concerns:
* The next president and what priorities he will bring.
* More money to keep pace with modernization.
* Making the culture of government attuned to the culture of cyberspace.
* Better management and one-stop shopping.
CIOs also are worried about IT staffing, but that doesn't mean they
are ready to turn work over to private contractors, a recent survey shows.
Asked to rate the importance of more than a dozen issues in their jurisdictions,
a group of 132 federal, state and local CIOs ranked IT staffing above other
hot issues such as security/privacy, e-government and records management,
giving it a score of 4.38 on a scale of 5.
Outsourcing, on the other hand, finished last on the list, with a score
of 2.88. So, despite the strong response on IT staffing, "it is clear government
CIOs do not view outsourcing as the solution to staffing," according to
Steve LeCompte, vice president for events, online and research at FCW Government
LeCompte surveyed CIOs and other IT directors who registered for the
Government CIO Summit, held this month in Savannah, Ga. The summit is produced
by the FCW Media Group, which publishes Federal Computer