Mark Weatherford, chief information security officer, California Mark Weatherford, chief information security officer, California Photo courtesy of Mark Weatherford

Mark Weatherford, who as California's chief information security officer shepherded the release of a first-of-its-kind strategic plan for the state government's cyber-security, will leave the post next month and take a new job with an electric power industry group.

Since Weatherford was named California's chief information security officer and director of the state Office of Information Security in 2008, he also has expanded the security office's reach and influence in the state enterprise, among several other initiatives.

Beyond policy and governance changes, "I think the one thing we've done is create a community of security professionals in the state," Weatherford said. Collaboration and continuity of California's cyber-security policies, standards and initiatives have been improved, he said.

In his new job with the North American Electric Reliability Corp. as vice president and chief security officer, Weatherford will help create critical infrastructure protection standards for the North American electric power industry, work that includes the emerging smart grid. "It excites me, and to be able to feel like I'm still performing a public service is very appealing to me," he said. http://www.nerc.com/

During the next month, Weatherford said he will be pursuing Homeland Security grants to help fund the California Information Security Operations Center, which was proposed in the five-year cyber-security plan Weatherford's office released last year. The center would provide real-time notification of cyber-attacks across all state government agencies and would be available to local governments as well, in a unique effort designed to combat the increasing problem posed by cyber-criminals. "I think we're at the place now," Weatherford said, "that we've got enough momentum with the overall state security program that it's time to start addressing that problem."

By the end of the year, the state might also be ready to unveil a major reworking of the state's IT policies, Weatherford said, with a focus on creating a holistic set of policies that will be consistent across the state government. But there's a chance that the policies won't be ready before the end of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration, which ends in November.

Weatherford joins a growing cast of California IT professionals who have left or are expected to leave the public sector this year. Teri Takai was nominated by the Barack Obama administration to become CIO of the Defense Department, although she awaits congressional confirmation. P.K. Agarwal left the directorship of the Office of Technology Services after a long career in public service.

Prior to coming to California, Weatherford was Colorado's chief information security officer. In his career, he has also worked for the defense technologies company Raytheon and has led the U.S. Navy's Computer Network Defense operations and the Naval Computer Incident Response Team.

 

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor