February 26, 2011 By Dan Lohrmann
As state leaders gather in Washington, D.C., this weekend for the 2011 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, one topic on the agenda is cyber-security. Experts in the field will be addressing questions like: What threats in cyber-space do we face? What are the potential ramifications of these cyber-threats? What steps can governments take now?
A NGA news release highlighted the importance of this first meeting since the November 2010 elections. NGA Chair Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said, "We have many challenges to tackle in the days ahead. However, with these challenges come great opportunities, and I look forward to working with fellow governors to find solutions and take necessary actions to put our states on the path to economic recovery."
No doubt, some readers may be surprised that cyber-security is even being given precious time alongside such essential topics as education, job creation and Medicaid. And yet, as cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure have grown in frequency and sophistication over the past few years, the negative impacts to business and government are being felt. If significant attention is not given to current cyber-risks, the potential exists for derailing advances made in digital government over the past decade.
Yesterday, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) issued a new call to action which directs attention to current cyber-security risks. Specifically NASCIO urges government leaders to take steps to know the risks, know the landscape, know your government cyber-assets and know your opportunities.
Protecting critical infrastructure is not an new issue; however, the importance of the topic continues to grow. This DHS video describes some of the public-private partnerships that exist in protecting key infrastructure assets. The National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) and sector-specific plans are also available (scroll down to the bottom of the page) to assist governments in taking action.
In Michigan, we have developed a strategic plan that includes both cybers-ecurity and infrastructure appendices as well as tools and newsletters. No doubt, Michigan, like other states, has a ways to go in protecting critical infrastructure. There’s always more to do and areas that require improvement.
One of the hardest parts for technology and business leaders is the moving threat target. The bad guys are getting more organized and better at what they do. In addition new technologies and advances in mobile computing and cloud computing present different security and privacy challenges.
Nevertheless, it is nice to see this cybersecurity topic on the NGA agenda this weekend. This may be the first time that such a high-level cyber-presentation has been given to these new governors. The time for action is now.
Any thoughts on this topic or on protecting critical information and/or government infrastructure?
Follow-up note on 2/28/2011: A video of this NGA session can now be seen at this CSPAN link:
February 12, 2011 By Dan Lohrmann
Egyptian democracy and high-speed Internet are not topics that typically go together, but they were both highlighted during President Obama’s speech this week in Marquette, Michigan. But the President was not discussing the Google marketing executive who helped to start the Middle East protests with his social networking comments a few weeks back. This trip to Michigan was about jobs, high-speed Internet access and our new economy.
“Obama traveled to frigid Marquette (the temperature was negative 19 degrees with the wind-chill) today to sell his plan to make high-speed wireless Internet service available to at least 98 percent of Americans.
Residents and businesses in rural Marquette are using super fast WiMAX Internet, and towns like Marquette, the president said, will create the jobs and businesses of tomorrow….
The president also wants to double wireless spectrum availability for mobile broadband, invest $3 billion in development of emerging wireless technologies, and develop a nationwide wireless network for public safety. The White House says the president’s plan will cut the deficit by nearly 10 billion over the next decade. Republicans are likely unwilling to increase spending for the president’s wireless plan.”
Comparing investment in wireless technology with the investments that Americans made in railroads, the President made it clear that he wants to “connect every corner of America to the digital age.”
As a Michigan resident, it was nice to hear that the President sees Michigan as innovative. I think it is true that Northern Michigan University’s implementation of WiMax is impressive, and I think their model is a national best practice. The benefits that local residents and businesses receive from this high-speed network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) could only have happened with public/ private partnerships and help from companies like Motorola and others.
We have a long way to go when it comes to enabling all Americans with affordable, ubiquitous high-speed Internet. Nevertheless, it is nice to highlight a few success stories. What is working now? What can we learn from their experience? What would they do differently if they started over?
There is no doubt that this NMU success story needs to be told. What are your thoughts on what Northern Michigan has done with WiMax?
Building effective virtual government requires new ideas, innovative thinking and hard work. From federal stimulus projects to enterprise architectures to cloud computing, Dan Lohrmann will discuss what's hot and what's not in the world of technology infrastructure.