CTOs: Keep your focus on security and functionality

July 5, 2009
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Technologists of all sort have been closely tracking events associated with cyber security, and most have been watching the many activities associated with White House efforts to enhance our ability to trust our digital infrastructure.

In my view, technologists from academia, startups, IT providers, integrators and large enterprises (including the federal space) need to understand that security and functionality are not two different concepts. They are the same concept. You don’t get functionality without security. And security without functionality is not security, its stupid.

As you continue your focus on security and functionality I’d like to encourage you to keep tracking the thoughts and actions of Melissa Hathaway, acting senior director for cyberspace for the National and Economic Security Councils. If you read the results of the 60-day review she and her team did, then you have a terrific foundation of key issues and you will know a framework for further action. But Melissa is now moving out on action plans and you involvement in them can make a significant positive difference.

My recommendation on how technologists can help:

a) In my opinion, technologists are

Technologists of all sort have been closely tracking events associated with cyber security, and most have been watching the many activities associated with White House efforts to enhance our ability to trust our digital infrastructure.

In my view, technologists from academia, startups, IT providers, integrators and large enterprises (including the federal space) need to understand that security and functionality are not two different concepts. They are the same concept. You don’t get functionality without security. And security without functionality is not security, its stupid.

As you continue your focus on security and functionality I’d like to encourage you to keep tracking the thoughts and actions of Melissa Hathaway, acting senior director for cyberspace for the National and Economic Security Councils. If you read the results of the 60-day review she and her team did, then you have a terrific foundation of key issues and you will know a framework for further action. But Melissa is now moving out on action plans and you involvement in them can make a significant positive difference.

My recommendation on how technologists can help:

a) In my opinion, technologists are the only ones who can really understand how the many standards bodies operate and we are the only ones who can exert positive influence over them (since the most important standards bodies, like the IETF, are collegial, collaborative bodies where well-articulated ideas are the ticket to entry). So, advice you can give to federal leaders on standards and influence you can have in the standards world are important contributions you can make. (see: http://ctovision.com/2008/05/standards-organizations-ctos-should-track )

b) As Melissa and others move out, it will be important that we stay in tune with what is going on. In this current environment of transparency and openness this is actually very easy to do. In fact, one easy way is to take a little time and watch the clip of Melissa Hathaway from her presentation at the Symantec Federal Summit of 16 June 2009. Please check it out here: Melissa Hathaway Clip. Listen for her views on the need for action plans and listen for her intent to move out. And listen for her clear articulation of what is different now. Some major things have changed in the cyber world.

After watching the clip I think you will see why it is so important that technologists think of security and functionality in the same breath. Our nation’s leaders are now thinking of national security and economic security in the same breath. That is totally analogous. You don’t get national security without economic security. And you don’t get IT functionality without IT security, in my opinion.

Related posts:

  1. Enhancing Security and Functionality At The Same Time
  2. Melissa Hathaway speaks at Intelligence and National Security Alliance
  3. Melissa Hathaway Op-Ed on Cyber Security



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