Integration, security are among SSA's priorities, CIO Dyer says

Integration, security are among SSA's priorities, CIO Dyer says

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

Integrating information, maintaining computer security, and preparing for equipment upgrades and new contractors top Social Security Administration chief information officer John Dyer's plans for the agency.

Later this month, SSA will switch to MCI WorldCom Inc. as its primary communications contractor, Dyer said at Government Computer News' March Forum in Washington.

The agency gets 60 million calls a year on its toll-free number, he said. Once the switch has been made, the agency must configure the network and determine how to integrate it with the Internet.

SSA is also cross-referencing information to keep fugitive felons from receiving Social Security payments and to catch overpayments, he said. 'Up to a year ago, fugitive felons were getting a check,' Dyer said. 'The police couldn't find them, but we were sending a check to their house every month. Now we are running matches against federal sources.''The agency is also studying computer security, he said.

'We have a good security program, but we realized that a lot of our employees didn't understand the need for security,' Dyer said.

The agency has initiated a training program to bolster security awareness, he said.

Dyer said he is looking at taking the agency's architecture and infrastructure to the Web.

'It's got to be cutting edge,' he said. 'We're going to the Internet. We're going to build something robust enough to keep up with the times.'

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