Shortly after Tony Scott became the federal government’s chief information officer in February, some of the Obama administration’s keystone tech policies — including cybersecurity and cloud computing — “felt like they were languishing a little bit and maybe had lost a sense of urgency,” the former corporate IT executive says.
There had been no shortage of guidance, strategies and memos issued by the Office of Management and Budget.
But particularly with cybersecurity, “What we didn’t have was, I think, any kind of good cadence and sort of sense of urgency about that,” Scott said Wednesday during a presentation at the Digital Government Institute’s 930Gov conference. “And so, even prior to OPM, I was thinking about: What are the things that we could do to sort of accelerate our progress on this?”
Scott is referring, of course, to the devastating data breach at the Office of Personnel Management, in which personal information culled from background investigation files of more than 21 million federal employees and contractors was stolen by hackers purportedly as part of a Chinese espionage operation.
Following the breach, Scott’s office ordered a “30-day cybersecurity sprint,” directing agencies to take immediate steps to plug security gaps, an effort that has boosted the use of more secure log-in methods and faster patching of critical vulnerabilities, according to the White House.
“There’s nothing like a crisis to sort of get the juices going and get people motivated,” Scott said. “I’m really proud of the work that the teams have done. I…