Vajda draws lessons from data breaches

Bill Vajda became CIO of the Education Department in the midst of the data security breaches last summer.

He used these incidents to spur change in his department.

'The secretary says our No. 1 priority is security,' Vajda said today at a breakfast in Falls Church, Va., sponsored by Input Inc., a market research firm based in Reston, Va. 'The security incidents were an early opportunity to find traction and use it as a way to open dialogue with the rest of Education.'

Vajda said his office, led by chief information security officer Jerry Davis, is centralizing the agency's control base and trying to reuse investments bureaus have already made.

'We will try to implement more coordinated oversight to help us comply with Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team reporting requirements in addition to our own,' he said. 'We want to have more practical command and control structures.'

Vajda added that his office is looking to implement technologies to monitor the network more closely as well as a dashboard to manage security better.

Along with security, Vajda is looking at how to take advantage of enterprise licensing for hardware and software and hoping to improve the training for his IT staff in areas such as performance management.

'We need to take advantage of our levers because we are highly distributed and there is a lot of potential for overlap,' he said. 'The secretary's goal is to improve our efficiency of what we are spending so we can spend it on the No Child Left Behind Act.'

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