CIOs cite IT security, privacy as top issues

Federal chief information officers cite information technology security and privacy as their most important – and daunting – issue, according to a survey of CIOs across departments and agencies.

The IT Association of America today released its 16th annual Federal CIO Survey, titled “Ten Years After Clinger-Cohen: Looking Back, Looking Forward.”

In the survey, the CIOs said they had made headway in IT security and privacy, but oversight and the vast space to protect against sophisticated perpetrators are “almost an overwhelming requirement they have,” said Paul Wohlleben, a partner at Grant Thornton’s Global Public Sector and program manager for the survey.

CIOs are balancing securing information and giving people access to it, and that brings high stress and significant budget problems, the survey found.

“The consensus seems to indicate that privacy needs to be elevated as an issue and was getting priority attention in only a few agencies where public concerns were driving the issue,” the report states.

Respondents also said that to improve system security, they would continue to mature their IT security programs, emphasizing risk and vulnerability assessments; monitoring, certifying and accrediting IT systems; and conducting Federal Information Security Management Act testing in a more coordinated effort with their agencies’ CXOs.

Besides IT security, CIOs listed maturing enterprise architecture, updating and combining IT infrastructure, managing portfolios, and data strategy and information sharing as their top accomplishments during the Bush administration.

Their outlook is bright. “Future CIOs will be recognized, without question, as key members of the seniormost leadership teams of their respective agencies,” the survey found.

Wohlleben, a former CIO at the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, said CIOs are not seen that way today.

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