The Data Watcher

Melissa Golden

Few people realize the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—the lending police deployed in response to the economic crisis—wrote “chief information security officer” into its org chart straightaway upon launch in 2011. The startup agency’s CISO, Zachary Brown, left the Internal Revenue Service to accept the job partly for the chance to build a security program on a fresh canvas, all in the cloud. 

“We shouldn’t be surprised if an agency has a CISO,” says Brown, 34. “We should be shocked if one does not.”
 
The cybersecurity office continues to be a work in progress, but “we were able to secure more resources than what was initially allocated” by educating management on cyber threats and effective protections, he says. 
 
Brown’s safety approach focuses on pre-empting disruptions, rather than on responding to them. Although a third-party facility is storing his bureau’s information, Brown is the one enforcing data safeguards. “That’s one of the misconceptions about the cloud: You hand over the keys and that organization is then in control. It’s still our responsibility. It’s still our data. We still have to be able to monitor that data and where it’s going,” he says. Cloud providers are allowing the agency to deploy monitoring tools remotely through a secure network that tracks abnormalities in data flows.
 
Security operations at the bureau are extremely collaborative, both with outside providers and in-house staff. Information technology employees work in a wide-open bullpen. The chief information officer “sits 4 feet away from me,” Brown says. “We’re able to engage issues as a team more quickly and more efficiently because we’re all right there. There’s no dancing around a subject.” 
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by eSignLive by VASCO

    Mobile E-Signatures for Government

    Learn 5 key trends that accelerate government demand for mobile signing.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Management Concepts

    SPONSORED: Successful Change Management Practices in the Public Sector

    How governmental agencies implement organizational change management.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Kronos

    Solving the Workforce Compliance Challenge

    Download this eBook to learn how data and automation can help state and local agencies.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.