CIOS sleepless over security

CIOs sleepless over security

In New York City yesterday, Veterans Affairs deputy CIO Ed Meagher spoke frankly about the federal government's need to outsource more of its IT tasks. 'At one meeting I kidded that everybody in the room had gray hair, except for the ones who were cheating' with dye, Meagher said. 'Government has been in a hiring freeze since about 1990. We don't have a choice about outsourcing. We can't do this alone.'

Meagher spoke on a panel with Paul Wohlleben, managing partner for the global government group of Grant Thornton LLP of Chicago, which helped prepare the Information Technology Association of America's 12th annual survey of federal information managers. Its title is The Federal Information Age: Stakeholders, Customers, Citizens.

Information security was the top concern among the 29 CIOs surveyed. 'We heard comments like, 'We're putting our best people on this job,' ' Wohlleben said.

'The thing that wakes me up at 2 a.m. is the security and privacy of the data we deal with,' Meagher said. 'We get hit on a regular basis by some of the baddest people in the world. They are probing and mapping us.'

Meagher said it's difficult to balance the 'yin and yang of keeping data private and at the same time making it more accessible on the Web. It's especially a challenge on 20-year-old systems.'

Asked his view of congressional pressure for more CIO accountability, Meagher said, 'We love that notion, and we're going to see a lot more of it. We need a return on investment.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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