Voices of Digital Communities

The Wide World of IT Infrastructure

Growing up, I used to love to watch ABCs Wide World of Sports. I'll never forget that famous line from Jim McKay: "Travelling the world ...

by / April 18, 2009

Growing up, I used to love to watch ABCs Wide World of Sports. I'll never forget that famous line from Jim McKay: "Travelling the world to bring you a constant variety of sports, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, the human drama of athletic competition - this has been ABCs Wide World of Sports." The words were always accompanied with pictures of successes like US Olympic hockey heroes as well as tragic failures such as a skier wiping-out while going down a scary mountain.   

In many ways, covering technology infrastructure is no less daunting than covering the global sports scene. I know that readers are inherently tech-savvy with access to an infinite number of channels. From USA Today's "Tech" section to Government Technology Magazine's News headlines to eWEEK.com's IT Infrastructure pages, there is way too much going on to even scratch the surface of what's happening globally.  

On top of that, I have a full-time day job as Michigan's CTO leading hundreds of technology staff and contractors within the Michigan Department of Information Technology's Infrastructure Services Administration. So when it comes to covering technology, I will definitely be picking and choosing where to engage and what to leave for others.

A quick glance at a recent front page from eWEEK.com's IT Infrastructure section illustrates the scope of what we face each day. First, there's a "Top IT Infrastructure Opinion" entitled: " What Will the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 Do to Your Job and Business ." The next story, " Tools Measure Outside Air for Data Center Cooling ," did not really excite me but was linked very creatively to "Green IT." Nice spin.   

The stories go on and on, from Obama Vows E-Health Records to Vets , to New Microsoft Windows Licensing Aids Desktop Virtualization, Report Says , to  Before Grid Hack Reports, NERC Advises Industry on Cyber Assets .  (Yep, the last one's back to the link between security and critical infrastructure.) I expect that my background will keep drawing me back to that security direction, but I'm going to try to leave that gig to my talented friend Mark Weatherford. Nevertheless, I've warned Mark that, at times, I may not be able to resist the cybersecurity temptation. 

So how will I decide what to write about? Mostly, I hope to cover the items that are hot (or not) at work within Michigan government. From stimulus spending to new views on federal/state/local cooperation, these are fascinating times. At the end of the day, I like to blog about what is intriguing or thought-provoking to me, as my previous security blog-followers know well from Securing GovSpace and Lohrmann on GovSpace .         

Since this is my first "Lohrmann on Infrastructure" blog, I'd like to look a bit closer at the parallels between blogging about sports and technology. Amazing technological advances have allowed the coverage of sports to change dramatically over the past 40+ years. All-sports TV channels like ESPN are widely available, and many popular events like "March Madness" (the Men's NCAA Basketball Championship) are made available for free on the Internet. Despite these advances, we still seek the same things when watching. Beyond following our alma mater, we become engaged as we learn about stories which offer "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" in sports or even other interesting stories covering the rest of life. 

My hope is that this new infrastructure blog can offer at least a small taste of those same elements regarding technology. Granted, the topics are not usually as exciting Kurt Warner's rise to Super Bowl stardom . I realize that I may not achieve this ambitious blogging goal. No doubt, many of the stories we cover in technology can be boring or seem like "just work."  

And yet, we all know that success comes when the people, our work processes and the right technology work together well. For most of us, the technology infrastructure we choose is only a part of our core activity, but our project management, technical architecture, network implementation or governance becomes central. If we can learn from others in the industry, we can be more effective. This includes learning from their successes and failures.    

So just as I am fascinated by the background pieces that are offered on athletes during the Olympics, I enjoy blogging most when I can analyze the deeper story behind the headline technology story. This approach isn't always possible, but it is my goal for Lohrmann on Infrastructure. While each blog can hopefully stand alone and be read as a one-off, I try to tell a wider story over time. To relate technology infrastructure headlines to our specific situations within government offices. Time will tell whether I am even remotely successful at this ambition while at the same time addressing the wide world of IT infrastructure.    

Finally, I'd like this to be a two-way dialogue. I truly hope you participate and offer your insights, ideas and suggestions. What's working at work, what's not and why?

Dan Lohrmann Chief Security Officer & Chief Strategist at Security Mentor Inc.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.

During his distinguished career, he has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, receiving numerous national awards including: CSO of the Year, Public Official of the Year and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Lohrmann led Michigan government’s cybersecurity and technology infrastructure teams from May 2002 to August 2014, including enterprisewide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan.

He currently serves as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor Inc. He is leading the development and implementation of Security Mentor’s industry-leading cyber training, consulting and workshops for end users, managers and executives in the public and private sectors. He has advised senior leaders at the White House, National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit institutions.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US/UK military facility.

Lohrmann is the author of two books: Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD for You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. He has been a keynote speaker at global security and technology conferences from South Africa to Dubai and from Washington, D.C., to Moscow.

He holds a master's degree in computer science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a bachelor's degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Follow Lohrmann on Twitter at: @govcso