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The Download - November 2014

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Lessons from the Gartner Symposium

By Jessica Wilkins-Bibbs, HR Manager

Technology Presentation

At this year’s Gartner Symposium conference, buzzword themes were ever-present. Technical jargon and neologisms such as "Nexus of Forces" (cloud, mobile, social and big data), bimodal IT (the fusion of reliability and agility), and digitization (moving from legacy to digital focus) were ubiquitous in discussions. What I didn't expect, however, was the emphasis on people and culture necessary to drive the aforementioned trends. As a true HR person at heart, this made my ears perk.

Most CIOs are pragmatic leaders who recognize that talent can make or break success. Based on Gartner's most recent survey, 4 out of 10 CIOs say that their organizations lack the skills and capabilities imperative to combat future challenges. Seventy-five percent, furthermore, understand that they'll need to alter their leadership style within the next three years to support digitization. More specifically, they will need to flip leadership from control first to vision first, from commanding to coaching. Gartner's Dave Aron put it simply through the words of Peter Drucker, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." Ultimately, if we don’t address the old 'we've done this before culture,' the market will consume us.

To demonstrate his point, Aron shared the example of Quicken Loans, where the culture is best summarized as "it's not about who is right, it's about what is right," "you’ll see it when you believe it," and "innovation is required; execution is rewarded." As the workplace becomes more digital, boosting employee engagement and embracing agility will be required to maintain a competitive edge. Rising techniques to help with this cause include reverse mentoring, brown bag lunches, hackdays, and tech showcases. Conversely, the shift isn’t one-sided. As hard skills start to become automated and the use of smart machines becomes more prevalent, the focus on qualities of talent, such as intellectual humility and emergent leadership, will lead the quest for securing a skilled workforce.

Smart machines, bring your own device (BYOD), and cutting-edge cyber security methods were hot topics that I enjoyed learning more about at the Symposium. My greatest takeaway, however, was clear: People should remain the primary focus as business and IT evolve.

Tech Corner

Cyber Security

The video above offers information regarding the prevalence of cyber security threats.

By Ishreth Sameem, CIO

As IT professionals, we have had multiple opportunities throughout October to listen to speakers discuss various aspects of cyber and IT security in commemoration of National Cyber Security Month. I personally have had the occasion to listen to some excellent presentations focused on security topics such as intrusion detection and prevention, social engineering, and security policies and practices, as well as the role of the chief information security officer (CISO) within an organization. While these discussions have the potential to keep any CIO awake during the night, understanding that no system or information is secure when it has connections to the internet should give us some validity to our concerns. During our one-year anniversary meeting of the IT Leadership Forum, our keynote speaker, Battelle CIO Mr. David White, made a very realistic comment: "The only way to entirely secure a system is to isolate it completely from the internet." As we all know, this is not a practical approach to implementing system security while ensuring a certain level of functionality.

As with any popular topic, we tend to become enthusiastic about creating a plan of action immediately after discussing it. As time passes, however, we lose focus and the subject becomes less visible; we are overtaken by so many other priorities in our day-to-day lives. This approach to IT security could have major repercussions. During one of the panel discussions in which I participated at the recent Ohio Digital Government Summit, State of Ohio CIO Mr. Stu Davis made an interesting comment. He stated that we have to be successful all of the time in our security efforts, but a hacker has to be successful only once. This means it is a constant battle for us to protect our sensitive data from those who have malicious intentions. The Data Center is aggressively tackling this issue on many fronts to ensure county agency data is protected while providing the optimum level of access to the user community. Due to the complex structure of Franklin County, however, it is impossible for the Data Center alone to take responsibility for security within the Franklin County data network. We are enforcing countywide security policies and best practices for critical enterprise systems, as well as setting parameters to our systems and devices. Nevertheless, in order to sufficiently address the security needs of Franklin County, IT professionals within all agencies need to engage in security practices. As such, the Data Center is organizing a work group devoted entirely to IT security. The scope of this work group is to identify some critical areas of best practices that we could implement collectively throughout the county, in addition to formulating a strategy and plan of action in the event of a breech. Therefore, I urge you to volunteer to participate in this work group, as we are in need of your valuable insight, experience, knowledge, and support. If we stand united to protect our data within Franklin County government, I am very confident that we will be able to minimize the ongoing IT security threats that persist.

Agency Communications

Email Security Threats

Cyber threats serve as a constant risk to IT security. The Franklin County Data Center is mindful of the repercussions these incursions have on county agencies and is taking proactive measures to mitigate them. With this in mind, we are asking everyone to partner with us in combating threats to our IT security.

Cyber Security

For your part, please remember NEVER to open an email attachment or click on a link for which you’re unaware of the sender. If you are in doubt, we recommend that you call or reply to the message confirming that the sender and file were expected. All virus emails will lead to an undeliverable message reply. However, if you do find yourself infected by this or any virus, please contact Data Center CSC immediately. We are requesting that you to continue to be vigilant about these types of threats to ensure we can protect the county network.

Thank you for your support.

Team Dynamics

Enterprise Solutions Team

The Enterprise Solutions Team operates within the Data Center's Application Development Division. The team is dedicated to aligning Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tools and strategies with the unique functions of the agencies of Franklin County, which allows organizations to manage, store, and deliver content effectively to their customers. By developing ECM solutions to streamline business processes, the Enterprise Solutions Team empowers our agency partners to manage and distribute information in an efficient manner.

In addition to ECM strategies, the Enterprise Solutions Team supports SQL Server Reporting Services and Integration Services, WebFocus, and SQL Server administration. Collaboration tools, furthermore, are another major pillar of the work that the Enterprise Solutions Team performs. Combining tools and technologies to solve complex problems and bring new functions and services into an agency is critical to the team. This collaboration introduces essential workflows, forms, document sharing, site content, centralized repositories and social experiences to the organization, providing invaluable resources and operational strategies.

Our four-member team has a broad knowledge base that includes proficiencies in OnBase, Intellivue, SQL Server Reporting Services, SharePoint, MUNIS, HEAT, and WebFocus. The team has multiple certifications in SQL, SharePoint, and OnBase as well. Ultimately, the Enterprise Solution Team strives to enhance the business processes of its agency partners through content management, reporting, and collaboration.

IT Leadership Forum

October Franklin County IT Leadership Forum

The October Franklin County IT Leadership Forum offered a fresh perspective on security from both the private and public sectors. Relevant county IT updates and the opportunity to join several committees to collaborate on IT initiatives were presented.

Arrow Graph

David White, CIO of Battelle Memorial, was the keynote speaker. He covered the mission, purpose, and success of Battelle, as well as the organization's history of innovation. Mr. White also discussed Battelle's strategic IT initiatives, which include: driving the cost of IT functions through efficiency and productivity improvement; enhancing IT support of the execution of strategic and operational plans within the business; improving the IT customer experience and service levels; and highlighting the ability of IT to respond swiftly to changes in business demands. Mr. White outlined Battelle's focus on cyber security and the ever-present role of IT security in business as well.

Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, meanwhile, spoke about his office's use of technology in law enforcement. Sheriff Scott's office has implemented technology in various ways - including using mobile labs to analyze evidence at crime scenes to determine possible crimes - which contributes to savings in both time and taxpayer money.

Richard Schmahl, CIO for the City of Akron, spoke about recovering from a security breach. In January 2013, cyber hackers from Turkey compromised the city's website and thousands of taxpayers had their personal information stolen, including their names, addresses, and social security numbers. The FBI Cyber Crimes Unit was engaged to investigate the situation. Mr. Schmahl reported that the city’s most difficult task was answering inquiries from the press, as well as from citizens. Some information had to be kept confidential and privileged in order to resolve the problem and lessen the impact.

Overall, the October IT Leadership Forum highlighted the role of IT in business and the need to ensure the security of electronic information in government.