The 2019 Riskiest States Report — Where Does Your State Rank?

Mississippi, Louisiana, California, Alaska, and Connecticut are the riskiest states in the U.S.A. based on consumer preparedness for cyberattacks, according to a new report from Webroot. The report examines the cyber hygiene habits of 10,000 Americans, 200 in each state, to determine what behaviors and practices they have in place to protect their information or identity from cybercriminals. While the five previously mentioned states scored the lowest on the cyber hygiene test, the average respondent’s grade wasn’t good either: 60% (or a “D”).

Despite the low scores on general cybersecurity knowledge and best practices, consumers reported a high (and false) sense of confidence about their cybersecurity behaviors. The majority (88%) of survey participants believe they are taking the appropriate steps to protect themselves from cybercriminals; however, the high fail rate suggests a major opportunity for improvement.

The 5 Riskiest States:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. California
  4. Alaska
  5. Connecticut

The 5 Least Risky (Safest) States:

  1. Kentucky
  2. Idaho
  3. Ohio
  4. North Dakota
  5. New Hampshire

Notable Findings:

Americans in every state are overconfident

  • 88% feel they take the right steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks.
  • Only 10% are A students in cyber hygiene, scoring 90% or higher.
  • The highest scoring state, New Hampshire, only scored a 65%.

Americans have a surface level understanding of common cyber threats

  • 79% of Americans have heard of malware, but only 28% could explain what it is.
  • 70% of Americans have heard of phishing, but only 33% could explain what it is.
  • 49% of Americans have heard of ransomware, but only 21% could explain what it is.

Less than half of Americans adopt cyber hygiene best practices

  • 64% of participants don’t keep their social media accounts private.
  • 63% of participants reuse passwords across multiple accounts.
  • 62% of participants rely on a free antivirus software[…] Read more »..

Machine Learning: How It Works

Machine Learning leverages a four-phase process: Collection, Extraction, Learning and Classification.

Collection

Like DNA analysis, file analysis starts with massive data quantities – specific types of files (executables, PDFs, Microsoft Word® documents, Java, etc.). Millions of files are collected from industry sources, proprietary repositories and inputs from active computers.

The goal is to ensure:

  • statistically significant sample sizes
  • sample files of the broadest type and authorship (author groups such as  Microsoft, Adobe, etc.)
  • an unbiased collection, not over-collecting specific file types.

Files are then reviewed and placed into three buckets: known and verified valid; known and verified malicious; and unknown. An accurate review is imperative – the inclusion of malicious in the valid bucket or valid in the malicious bucket would create incorrect bias.

Extraction

The extraction of attributes follows, which is substantively different from behavior identification or malware analysis historically conducted by threat researchers. Rather than seeking things analysts believe might be malicious, this approach leverages the compute capacity of machines and data-mining to identify the broadest possible set of file characteristics — some as basic as the file size and others as complex as the first logic leap in the binary.

The atomic characteristics are then extracted, depending on file type (.exe, .dll, .com, .pdf, .java, .doc, .ppt, etc.). By identifying the broadest possible set of attributes, manual classification bias is removed. Use of millions of attributes also increases the cost an attacker incurs, creating a piece of malware that could go undetected. This attribute identification and extraction process creates a file genome comparable to the human genome and can be used to mathematically determine expected characteristics of files, just as human DNA analysis is leveraged, determining characteristics and behaviors of cells.

Learning

Once collected, the output is normalized and converted to numerical values for use in statistical models. Vectorization and machine learning are then applied to eliminate human impurities and to speed analytical processing. Leveraging the attributes identified in extraction, mathematicians then develop statistical models that predict whether a file is benign or malicious. Dozens of models are created with key measurements, ensuring the predictive accuracy. Ineffective models are scrapped. Effective models are subjected to multiple levels of testing.

The first level starts with a sample of known files. Later stages involve the entire file corpus (tens of millions of files). The final models are then loaded into a production environment for use in file classification.

It’s important to remember that for every file scrutinized, millions of attributes are analyzed to differentiate between legitimate files and malware. This is how machine learning identifies malware – whether known or unknown – and achieves unprecedented levels of accuracy. It divides a single file into an astronomical number of characteristics and analyzes each against hundreds of millions of other files to reach a decision about the health of each characteristic.

Classification

Statistical models once built can be used by math engines to classify files, which are unknown (e.g., files never seen before). This analysis takes milliseconds and is extremely precise because of the breadth of the file characteristics analyzed […] Read more »..

The role and the focus of a CISO with Tim Swope

Apex sat down with Tim Swope, Chief Information Security Officer at Catholic Health Services of Long Island to discuss his role and experience as a CISO. With extensive experience in the industry, Tim shares his advice and the value of an IT Risk Management Program being the cornerstone for all cyber security work.

Q: What is IT security doing to support innovation in the enterprise?

A: In addition to training the IT Security Staff, we all attend many seminars outlining new and innovative technologies and with our Proactive Risk Management model we are able to determine what GAPS those technologies will close in our organizations.

Q: What is the single most important thing CISOs should be focusing on today?

A: While many security leaders focus on the technical side of cybersecurity, a key focus of mine is risk management. Risk management is the overriding element for successful cybersecurity programs.  We need to know what cyber risks and 3rd party vendor risk that my affect our organizations, assign a risk level and then focus our remediation and management on the top tier risks first.

Q: How can you best describe the relationship between the CIO and the CISO in the enterprise?

A: The CIO and I work very closely together on the overall information strategy for the organizations.  That being said, while the CIO might push for technology solutions that will make access to information easier…..I ensure that we can effectively manage and monitor that technology.  In the Healthcare space, innovation has moved faster than our ability to secure it. I remind the CIO we are FIRST in the patient privacy and safety business..not the convenience business!!

Q: How have you searched for and found the best vendors for your organization?

A: We have a very strict due diligence process for our vendors, especially those that will be working with PHI. However, we are constantly looking and evaluating vendors that may be able to save us cost, have greater automation and solve our needs better.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for a CISO today?

A: In the Healthcare industry, changing regulations, the need to expose patient data to outside entities and ensuring that the same IT security posture remains in place in the face of this change.

Q: What advice would you give an early stage CISO joining an enterprise organization?

A: When coming into a new organization as a CISO leader, I strongly believe in conducting an internal assessment to get an understanding of what controls and technologies are in place. While some CISOs may rely on an outside firm to conduct these, I choose to do an initial assessment myself, putting myself in an outside auditor’s shoes. Rather than looking at somebody else to do it for me, I’ll do it myself and I think that’s the key thing a CISO should do, is understand his or her landscape and do their own personal assessment and only then can you see what you really have.

Q: What is the importance of an IT risk Management Program in today’s cyber security landscape?

A: In order to deliver value to our customers, patients, employees, communities and shareholders, we at Catholic Health Services and other Healthcare organizations must understand and manage the risks faced across our entire organization. Risks are inherent in our business activities and can relate to strategic threats, operational issues, compliance with laws, and reporting obligations.  As part of the overall IT risk management process Information Security, Governance and Risk (ISGR) departments are responsible for various activities that are important to regulatory compliance, information security, data protection and risk management. This group has the authority and responsibility to investigate and assess compliance in all activities relevant to the Security Governance Program and to report on compliance status to IS Management.

The “Framework” that encompasses their Risk Management Program has the primary functions to:

  • Determine categorization of IT risks
  • Define the common framework used to identify and manage potential events that may affect information within the IT infrastructure
  • Define accountability for IT risk management
  • Determine the governance and oversight of IT  risk management activities

Internal and external events affecting our ability to achieve our security and operational objectives are identified at various points in the business cycle. During strategic and business planning and review processes, business unit management assesses the market and competitive environment to identify risks and opportunities facing their business. The various risk management functions within or assigned to that business unit provide expertise, support and input into the process. Each of the risk management functions is represented on applicable management committees to enable effective risk identification and business partnership.

Throughout the year, risk assessments, scans and surveys are performed by the ISGR team to identify internal and external events that might affect the achievement of the Company’s objectives. Additionally, the various risk management functions scan the external environment for risk indicators through analysis of applicable business intelligence, including trends in external health authority and other government inspections and enforcement, legislative changes, and shifts in market, payer and consumer models, as well as relationships with external subject matter experts.

Finally, risk management functions review the output from internal monitoring and assurance activities to identify gaps and emerging risk areas. Risks are analyzed, considering likelihood and impact of a given outcome, to determine how they should be managed.

If we can take a way one lesson from the need for a risk management program it is the following:

Risk Management is the number one process for Identifying potential risks and creating a plan to eradicate or manage them!!

We don’t accept Risk, we continually Manage it!

 

Tim Swope

CISO

Catholic Health Services of LI

Mr. Timothy Swope is currently the CISO of Catholic Health Services, an 18,000 employee hospital group in Long Island, NY. He is an Information Security and IT Risk Management professional who partners with Chief Information Security Officers and IT Governance, Risk and Compliance executives to assess and deliver IT Security and Risk Management programs to Health Care and Insurance, Pharmaceutical and government agencies. After spending over 2 decades assisting clients implement secure enterprise BI, EHR, Meaningful Use and other data science systems, Tim knows and understands the requirements and components that create a secure information security posture. A key area of his expertise centers around interpreting and applying Federal, State and Industry regulations such as: DSRIP, HITRUST, HIPAA, NIST SP 800-53, 21 CFR Part 11, Health Insurance Reform: Security Standards, FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) and locally the Zadroga Act to name a few.

He also supported cyber security requirements for Medicaid’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program at 2 of New York’s largest PPS’s (Performing Provider Systems) Northwell Health and NYC Health and Hospitals.

He has supported the IT Risk Management and IS Security initiatives of organizations that include Excellus BCBS, Medimmune/ Astra Zeneca, MERCK, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, Novo Nordisk, Daiichi-Sankyo Solutions, Johnson and Johnson, District of Columbia Government office of the Chief Financial Officer, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, City of Richmond, Virginia Department of Public Utilities.

How Travel Buyers and IT Managers Collaborate to Secure Sensitive Company Data

Global business travel spending reached $1.33 trillion in 2017 and is forecast to advance another 7.1 percent in 2018. As this investment continues to rise, it’s increasingly important to help business travelers protect sensitive company information while they are in transit. The cost of neglecting this risk is high, as a single data breach costs an average of $3.62 million.

Data Privacy

Travel buyers within large companies do more than negotiate supplier agreements. They set travel policies that can help reduce an organization’s risk. As such, both IT managers and travel buyers have an important role to play in data security. By coordinating efforts, they can ensure that business travelers are trained, equipped and updated on best practices to help keep personal and company information safe while traveling.

While most companies invest in IT security, a serious oversight in some companies is spending millions to protect their digital data while ignoring the threat of lower-tech hacking techniques. This risk is heightened for employees working while traveling, but it can be mitigated by educating travelers and providing resources to help protect data displayed on their screens.

The following are some measures designed to reduce the visual, verbal, digital and physical exposure of data, protecting key information and thwarting opportunistic hackers. These behaviors and tools can be incorporated into official practices and procedures by IT managers – and travel buyers can reinforce in communications.

Developing better situational awareness: Business travelers are their own first line of defense when it comes to data privacy and security. Whenever possible, they should try to position themselves in a way that limits what other people – or devices – can see, hear or record. They should consider multiple vantage points, including people above them (e.g., on balconies and upper levels) or within “zooming” distance, as well as the locations of security cameras.

Securing screens with privacy filters: Privacy filters help protect what’s on laptop or mobile device screens by blocking unauthorized side views – a particularly useful tool for travelers that spend a significant time in crowded waiting areas or in transit on planes, trains and ferries.

Locking devices when not in use: All computers and mobile devices should be password-protected as a basic security measure, but employees should be required to do so anywhere they access company information. This measure is only effective if they also make sure to lock the device whenever it is not in use – even for short periods of time.

Implementing physical locks and alarms: Physically locking briefcases and carry-ons provides an extra layer of security against opportunistic snatch-and-grab incidents. In addition, laptop alarms are available that combine software with a physical alarm attached to the device. If the device is lost or stolen, the alarm goes off loudly.

Traveling with juice-jack protectors and personal charging devices: Juice-jack protectors can be attached to the end of a USB cord to help protect against skimmers when travelers are charging their devices in public places. If possible, providing personal charging devices to frequent travelers will limit their need to use public chargers at all.

Using portable Wi-Fi hotspots and/or a company VPN: Open or publicly-available Wi-Fi leaves travelers vulnerable to numerous methods of hacking. Ideally, frequent travelers should have their own personal hotspot device to access their own Wi-Fi, but a company VPN can also provide greater protection on an open network […] Read more »..

 

The role, the challenges and the responsibilities of a CIO with Milos Topic.

Apex sat down with Vice President & Chief Information Officer of Saint Peter’s University. With 20 years of experience in leadership, innovation strategies, technology implementation and business development, Milos shares his views on the role of a CIO and  what it means to be an IT leader today.

 

Q: What is IT doing to support innovation?

A: IT is meant to drive innovation and enable others to do the same and take part. IT is a critical partner and a “golden thread” if you will across everything modern businesses and organizations do. As such, it is uniquely positioned to provide value to all.  Furthermore, innovation comes in many forms, but it always requires action. Thinking, planning, strategizing is all wonderful and valuable, but without action, not much will get accomplished.

Q: What is the single most important thing CIOs should be focusing on today?

A: CIOs as well as all executives should be focused on people and business growth. Modern CIOs are more customer facing and are spending time on strategy, vision and innovations across and beyond the enterprise.

Q: Should IT be a business enabler?

A: IT is business in a sense, or it is at the very least an essential part of every modern and competitive organization. As such, it should provide options to challenge old (and at times outdated) business models before others (from the outside) do it for them.

Q: How do you stay abreast of the trends and what your peers are doing?

A: I have invested years (and continue to do so) in building and nurturing relationships across various industries, sectors and markets. These relationships paired with various events (such as those hosted by Apex) are of critical significance in staying current and learning from those who may be further along.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for a CIO today?

A: It varies across industries and different maturity models of organizations, but I do believe that attracting and retaining top talent is one of the largest priorities, it certainly is for me. In today’s world and in major markets such as greater New York City area people have options which is great for them, yet challenging to many organizations.

Q: What is the difference between a CIO and a CTO?

A: Titles vary, but in general, a CIO should be focused on customers, innovation, strategy, growth and providing value to other major areas (Finance, Marketing, Operations, Security, Legal…) while a CTO is leading the existing services and ensures smooth operations of teams.

Q: How has the role of the CIO changed over your career?

A: Visibility has increased, and so have the responsibilities. CIOs have now earned seats on top management teams among their executive leadership peers. They are also more involved in the overall business vision, strategy and direction than ever before. All of these changes have taken place across organizations that are current and future proofed, while others are still behind and are struggling across some of these areas.

Q: What advice would you give an early stage CIO joining an organization?

A: Get as close to the business as you possibly can and learn everything about it. Build relationships, provide value to others and always give more than you take, in every exchange. Spend time and resources on developing leadership, strategy and negotiation skills as they matter in all that we do, professionally and personally.

Q: How important is the relationship between a CIO and a CISO?

A: While the reporting structure is debated by some, the relationship is very important. CIO relationships with everyone they work with are of importance, from CISO, to CFO, CMO, COO…all the way to the CEO. The entire C-suite needs to be unified and transparent with each other in order for all of them to move forward and make progress.

Q: What is the largest obstacle a CIO faces when it comes to security?

A: People. Training and organizational requirements to how data is stored, used and shared. Furthermore, many organizations are not funding information security adequately and proactively.

Q: What falls under the CIO’s responsibilities when it comes to security?

A: I’m of the belief that there should be one top technology leader and that is a CIO. Everyone else should report to them with varying degrees of authority. When it comes to finance, marketing, legal…they are all ultimately under one leader while IT seems to be fragmented in some organizations. The only potential exception is an area responsible for the overall risk, liability and governance for the entire business…they could be outside IT with strong collaborative partnership with the CIO and their leadership team.

Q: How do you see the security landscape changing over the next 12 – 18 months and how are you preparing?  

A: Robots are taking over. From machine learning to artificial intelligence, people can’t keep up with the volume and complexity of threats so continuous investments in tools and technologies is expected. We are experimenting with robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning and will continue to stay current with what is available.  

Q: How worried are you about the “human element” when it comes to security?

A: It is the weakest link in this chain. People make mistakes in opening emails, sharing data, configuring technology (both software and hardware)…the list goes on. Cyber security awareness training should be mandatory across all organizations and should be part of one’s employment record at some point in time.

 

Milos Topic

Vice President & Chief Information Officer

SAINT PETER’S UNIVERSITY

I believe that everything begins and ends with leadership. Leaders have the greatest responsibility for the impact and influence over the people they lead and the outcomes of their organizations as a whole. Furthermore, I am passionate about IT being a trusted strategic partner and an advisor (a service broker) to the entire organization as technology must drive innovation across organizations and provide both strategic and operational business solutions.

I have 20 years of experience in leadership, innovation strategies, technology implementation & business development while my formal education is a blend of science, technology and business. My journey in the Information Technology (IT) profession started in 1997 and over the past 20+ years I have worked on nearly all aspects of IT. I got underway with networking/cabling installs; tech support to programming in C++, C#, Java; web development; system/network security/administration to my most recent positions of leading teams of amazing people providing technology solutions and services while supporting a multitude of organizational needs. Finally, it is essential to always focus on people first, as they matter the most in everything we do.

Sara Nunez: Being a Woman In Technology

Apex sat down with Sara Nunez, award-winning global Program Management executive. With her experience transforming organizations by applying a broad range of integrated strategic execution best practices and business development initiatives, she shares her thoughts on being a Woman in Technology. 

Q: Is the lack of women in tech really a pipeline problem or is that companies are not providing the culture to cultivate and promote their women talent?

A: We need to do research on this topic. There are many factors to this challenge. 1. We were created with special attributes, just as men were created.  2. Society and Cultures have a lot to do with this issue as well. 3. We need women to unleash their potential without looking at this as competition with men. Companies are us people, therefore, it is our duty to transform and enable success with the right mix of people required regardless of them being women or men.

Q: Does the current conversation about women in tech single women out and leave men out of the solution in your organization?

A: The current conversation is needed and I do believe it is a concern for both sides.

Q: What can organizations do to get more women into senior level and executive positions? Where do you see gaps?

A: Companies are looking for talent and new skills.  We need more qualified women with thick skin to be leaders and apply for senior level positions.

Q: What can companies can do to address unconscious bias at all levels of the organization?

HR and hiring programs should measure the desired outcome and strategize to make it happen.  A balance and diversity is critical for organizations around the world.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?

A: My mentor once told me, if you love what you do, you will be amazing at it.  If you are considering a career in the tech industry you have to love it, be an expert at it.  Spend extra time to go beyond.  You are not competing with men, you are complimenting them and together as a team you will succeed.  Be you, be a woman.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the next generation of women and how can we be stronger role models for them?

A: I think the biggest challenge is to keep up with rapid technology changes and the ability to create knowledge rather than looking for it.  Writing articles and visiting universities to share your knowledge with a new generation could give us the platform to prepare them to succeed.  We need to pay forward and push them hard.

Q: How is your organization creating programs and training for men to be better advocates for women specifically around support and sponsorship?

A: Multiple programs are in place, from Leadership Dev Programs and global assignments to mentoring and sponsorships.

Q: How can women better support other women in technology?

A: We need to excel and inspire women to follow the steps and make giant moves to be recognized and valued for who we are.

Q: It is no secret that many women in the tech industry have felt their gender has affected the way that they are perceived or treated in their role. Have you come across a situation that made you feel that way?

A: Do not allow that to happen.  We are in a company to drive results and motivate each other to succeed.  We are ONE.

 

Sara Nunez, IT Enterprise PMO Director

Dynamic, award-winning global Program Management executive and advisor to the C-suite who ensures strategic PMO is embedded throughout the enterprise’s DNA. Transforms organizations by applying a broad range of integrated strategic execution best practices and business development initiatives. Drives organizational goals, improves performance and efficiencies, and capitalizes on revenue-generating opportunities. Generously shares expertise to inspire a passion for learning, creating high-performance teams with intellectual and emotional connection to their work. Agile and multicultural, with expertise across a broad range of industries including telecommunications, technology, wealth management, and education.

Global Talent Shortage is Top Emerging Risk Facing Organizations

Staff shortages have escalated in the last three months to become the top emerging risk organizations face globally, according to Gartner, Inc.’s latest Emerging Risks Survey.

“Organizations face huge challenges from the pace of business change, accelerating privacy regulations and the digitalization of their industries,” said Matt Shinkman, managing vice president and risk practice leader at Gartner. “A common denominator here is that addressing these top business challenges involves hiring new talent that is in incredibly short supply.”

Table 1. Top Five Risks by Overall Risk Score: 1Q18, 2Q18, 3Q18, 4Q18

Rank 1Q18 2Q18 3Q18 4Q18
1 Cloud Computing Cloud Computing Accelerating Privacy
Regulation
Talent Shortage
2 GDPR Cybersecurity
Disclosure
Cloud Computing Accelerating Privacy
Regulation
3 Cybersecurity
Disclosure
GDPR Talent Shortage Pace of Change
4 Global Economic
Slowdown
AI/Robotics Skill Gap Cybersecurity
Disclosure
Lagging Digitalization
5 Social Engineering Global Economic
Slowdown
AI/Robotics Skill Gap Digitalization
Misconceptions
 

Sixty-three percent of respondents indicated that a talent shortage was a key concern for their organization. The financial services, industrial and manufacturing, consumer services, government and nonprofit, and retail and hospitality sectors showed particularly high levels of concern in this area, with more than two-thirds of respondents in each industry signaling this as one of their top five risks.

Gartner research indicates that companies need to shift from external hiring strategies towards training their current workforces and applying risk mitigation strategies for critical talent shortages.

“Organizations face this talent crunch at a time when they are already challenged by risks that are exacerbated by a lack of appropriate expertise,” said Shinkman. “Previous hiring strategies for coping with talent disruptions are insufficient in this environment, and risk managers have a key role to play in collaborating with HR in developing new approaches.”

Talent Shortage May Exacerbate Other Key Risks

Beyond a global talent shortage, organizational leaders are grappling with a series of interrelated risks from a rapidly transforming business environment. Accelerating privacy regulation remained a key concern, dropping into second place in this quarter’s survey. Respondents indicated that the pace of change facing their organizations had emerged as the third most prominent risk, while factors related to the pace and execution of digitalization rounded out the top five emerging risks in this quarter’s survey.

Mitigation strategies to address this set of risks often come at least partially through a sound talent strategy. For example, a key Gartner recommendation in more adequately managing data privacy regulations is the appointment of a data protection officer, while both GDPR regulations and digitalization bring with them a host of specialized talent needs impacting nearly every organizational function.

“Unfortunately for most organizations, the most critical talent needs are also the most rare and expensive to hire for,” said Shinkman. “Adding to this challenge is the fact that ongoing disruption will keep business strategies highly dynamic, adding complexity to ongoing talent needs. Most organizations would benefit from investing in their current workforce’s skill velocity and employability, while actively developing risk mitigation plans for their most critical areas[…] Read more ».”

 

 

Insights from Founder and President of StarCIO with Isaac Sacolick

Apex sat down with Isaac Sacolick, Founder and President of StarCIO. As a successful CIO who has led digital transformation, product development, innovation, agile management, and data science programs in multiple organizations, he sheds some light on challenges and focus areas for today’s CIO.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for a CIO today?

A: CIOs have the challenge of evolving IT from back office support functions to ones that can deliver applications and analytics while investing in agile, cloud, devops, and security. Many of the CIO I talk to are still adjusting to the speed, innovation, and organizational intelligence required to remain competitive and to avoid disruption.

That’s all table stakes today.

CIOs have to see what’s coming next for their businesses and drive discussions on where they can lead their industries. They have to identify partnerships, experiment with new technologies, and accelerate the development of their leadership teams so that they can deliver and iterate on differentiating capabilities. That’s a lot to do, when many organizations have cultures resistant to change, legacy technology footprints, increasing security threats, and greater operational impacts when technologies underperform.   

Q: What is the single most important thing CIOs should be focusing on today?

A: I think that CIO can’t just have a single most important thing as it can lead to saying ‘no’ to business opportunities, underserving parts of the business, or overinvesting in a strategic driver whether it be innovation, operational excellence, compliance, etc.

Some time ago, I wrote how digital CIOs manage their time and it resonated with many CIO that struggle with their shifting roles and juggling many priorities. The biggest thing the CIO should focus on today is how to manage their time, find partnerships, and grow bench strength to meet these challenges.

Q: What is IT doing to support innovation in the enterprise?

A: IT should start by defining an ideation process and pipeline that captures new ideas from across the organization and puts them through rapid discovery processes. I describe these pipelines and planning processes in my book, Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology along with agile transformation, product management, and becoming data driven – all practices that drive innovation.

Second, I recommend to CIO and their leadership teams to spend significant time out of their IT offices and seek to develop business relationships, visit customers, and attend various industry events. IT can’t drive innovation without having an outside-in perspective on what customers need, how business leaders are managing competitive threats, and how other industries are solutioning comparable challenges.

Lastly, IT should be doing a lot of experimenting, executing proof of concepts, and investing in learning activities. To be innovative, IT needs to know how to integrate different technologies into nimble, supportable solutions. There’s no silver bullet to innovation, and IT has to invest in learning the building blocks.

Q: How do you stay abreast of the trends and what your peers are doing?

A: I have a voracious appetite for reading, writing, speaking, meeting people, attending events, and participating in social media. I’m a bit of an outlier as a big part of what I do now at StarCIO is advise leaders on transformation, collaborative practices, platforms, and emerging technologies.

I also get hands on with new technologies from time to time.

IT leaders should try to do the same. Read two or more articles a day, a book a month, and attend at least three conferences yearly. Find a comfort zone participating in social media such as commenting on selective posts, participating in a Twitter chat, or writing a guest blog post. Most SaaS solutions offer trials and demo accounts, so invest some time to roll up the sleeves and see what works.   

Q: What advice would you give an early stage CIO joining an enterprise organization?

A: CIOs have to run in several parallel directions when joining an enterprise. First, significant time should be spent with business leaders to start developing relationships and ideally with customers to better understand how the organization’s products or services impact them. Second, they should conduct an end to end assessment of their department’s capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses along with a review of underlying practices and technologies. Finally, they should select a handful of departments that have strategic priorities and may be underserved technically.

CIOs in their first hundred days should be looking to answer several questions. Where are the strategic priorities where technology can make an impact? What are some quick wins and other initiatives that need to be on the roadmap? What major risks have not been communicated or don’t have mitigation plans? What are the gaps in IT that the CIO needs to address and may need financial help, collaboration, or forgiveness in their early goings? What areas of the organization are early adopters to new practices and technologies versus others that are slower to change or others that may be detractors?

CIO roles have to pull this information together quickly to formulate and communicate a go-forward strategy and plan.

 

Isaac Sacolick (@NYIke) is the Founder and President of StarCIO, a services company that helps clients succeed with data and technology while executing “smarter, faster, and more innovative” transformation programs. Isaac is a successful CIO who has led digital transformation, product development, innovation, agile management, and data science programs in multiple organizations. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology, and has written over four hundred articles as a contributing editor at InfoWorld,  CIO.com and Social, Agile and Transformation. He is an industry speaker on digital transformation, becoming a data driven organization, artificial intelligence, agile management, and other leadership topics. Isaac has  been recognized as a top digital influence by IDG, Enterprise Management 360, and Thinkers360, a top 100 CIO in STEM, a top social CIO by HuffPost, Forbes, and HP Enterprise.

New Year’s Resolutions for CIO and Digital Transformation Leaders

Happy holidays and new year everyone! Have your final cocktails of 2018, read up on my driving digital predictions for 2019, and get ready to lead your organizations through what is likely going to be a jittery year of successes, surprises, and necessary pivots.

I’m guessing you have your 2019 plan locked and loaded, but if you’re a reader of my book Driving Digital, my articles (here and on InfoWorld and CIO) and the monthly Driving Digital Newsletter, you’ll know that roadmaps need ongoing refinement.

So with that, allow me to suggest some new year’s resolutions that you might want to bake into your 2019 plans.

Develop relationships, then drive change

If transformation is a journey, then you best be prepared to meet, learn from, question, inspire, and drive change with new people every day. These activities should occupy a healthy percent of your weekly activities especially because you need relationships and empathy before you can drive culture, behavioral, and process changes. Consider establishing a Driver’s Voice Meeting, taking steps to become an agile organization, looking for new ways to reward top performers, and seeking other practical advice for managing organizational change. The number one reason digital transformations fail is because executives fail to embrace that it’s a bottoms up transformation that will require change across the organization.

Roadmap a proactive data governance program

With the initial GDPR compliance behind us, I hope more organizations will take proactive steps and invest in data governance programs. Yes, you cannot afford to lag in your industry with data, analytics, and AI, and maybe you are already becoming a real time enterprise, but most experts agree that investing in data quality, cataloging, and access policies is a critically important step. 

Read three more of Isaac’s Driving Digital new year’s resolutions for CIOs and digital transformation leaders.

 

Isaac Sacolick is a former CIO and CTO and now President of StarCIO, a services company that helps businesses drive smarter, faster, and more innovative business transformations. He is the author of Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation through Technology which covers many practices such as agile, devops, and data science that are critical to successful digital transformation programs. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, digital transformation influencer, and blogs at Social, Agile and Transformation, InfoWorld and CIO.com.

Ohio Implements Data Protection Act

The state of Ohio has implemented its Data Protection Act to encourage businesses to voluntarily adopt strong cybersecurity controls to protect consumer data.

Senate Bill 220, the Data Protection Act, was sponsored by State Senators Bob Hackett (R-London) and Kevin Bacon (R-Westerville) and was signed into law in late 2018.

Senate Bill 220 provides different industry-recognized cybersecurity frameworks which a business can follow when creating its own cybersecurity program. In order to receive the benefit of the safe harbor, a business must create its own cybersecurity program.

The legislation provides an affirmative defense to a lawsuit which alleges a data breach that was caused by a business’ failure to implement reasonable information security controls.

Businesses are only required to incorporate one of the frameworks into the business’ cybersecurity program[…] Read more ».