Who are you? What information are you allowed to access? Where do you live? What financial assistance are you eligible for? How much do you owe the government? Are you qualified to do that job? Can I verify the information you provided is accurate?

When it comes to online transactions, these questions are difficult for government organizations to answer. And yet, verified credentials are required to enable government efficiency efforts over the next decade. Whether streamlining health records, processing taxes, verifying unemployment benefits, approving student loans, planning transportation needs, accessing criminal justice records, issuing business licenses, reforming correctional facilities or improving dozens of other processes, the use of identity management and provisioning is an essential component to lasting improvements in business processes.

Getting this right won’t be easy. Similar opportunities about single sign-ons were discussed in the ’90s. Privacy groups also raise legitimate concerns about centralized identity management solutions that must be addressed.

Progress has been slow — with only pockets of success across the nation. State and local governments still face many challenges to implementing federated digital identities that are trusted by the public and private sectors. Some of these challenges include value proposition and benefits, defining the business drivers, building the architecture and standards, enrollment process and issuance, funding and acquisition, and sourcing options.

Meanwhile, the federal government has made steady progress in the past eight years, e.g., the Federal Public Key Infrastructure Policy Authority (2002); First Responder Authentication Credential (2006); Federal Identity, Credentialing and Access Management (2009); Cyberspace Policy Review (2009); and The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (2010 draft).

What must governments do now? For one, partner with groups like NASCIO on this topic. According to the association’s leadership, we can’t afford to work alone or on proprietary systems. We must have solutions that interoperate across all governments using a federated approach that’s competitively sourced. One answer includes adopting the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management Roadmap and Implementation Guidance as a framework. Most state technology funds come from the federal government, so states must work closely with federal partners in this area. NASCIO created several working groups on identity and access management with emphasis on identity assurance. Another goal is to streamline federally funded and state-administered programs’ business processes to obtain cost reductions. Establishing trustworthy digital identities paves the way for many government efficiency efforts. The level of trust must match the situation. The time to act is now. ¨

Dan Lohrmann is Michigan’s CTO and was the state’s first chief information security officer. He has 25 years of worldwide security experience, and has won numerous awards for his leadership in the information security field. 

Dan Lohrmann Dan Lohrmann  |  Contributing Writer

Daniel J. Lohrmann became Michigan's first chief security officer (CSO) and deputy director for cybersecurity and infrastructure protection in October 2011. Lohrmann is leading Michigan's development and implementation of a comprehensive security strategy for all of the state’s resources and infrastructure. His organization is providing Michigan with a single entity charged with the oversight of risk management and security issues associated with Michigan assets, property, systems and networks.

Lohrmann is a globally recognized author and blogger on technology and security topics. His keynote speeches have been heard at worldwide events, such as GovTech in South Africa, IDC Security Roadshow in Moscow, and the RSA Conference in San Francisco. He has been honored with numerous cybersecurity and technology leadership awards, including “CSO of the Year” by SC Magazine and “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine.

His Michigan government security team’s mission is to:

  • establish Michigan as a global leader in cyberawareness, training and citizen safety;
  • provide state agencies and their employees with a single entity charged with the oversight of risk management and security issues associated with state of Michigan assets, property, systems and networks;
  • develop and implement a comprehensive security strategy (Michigan Cyber Initiative) for all Michigan resources and infrastructure;
  • improve efficiency within the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget; and
  • provide combined focus on emergency management efforts.

He currently represents the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) on the IT Government Coordinating Council that’s led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also serves as an adviser on TechAmerica's Cloud Commission and the Global Cyber Roundtable.

From January 2009 until October 2011, Lohrmann served as Michigan's chief technology officer and director of infrastructure services administration. He led more than 750 technology staff and contractors in administering functions, such as technical architecture, project management, data center operations, systems integration, customer service (call) center support, PC and server administration, office automation and field services support.

Under Lohrmann’s leadership, Michigan established the award-winning Mi-Cloud data storage and hosting service, and his infrastructure team was recognized by NASCIO and others for best practices and for leading state and local governments in effective technology service delivery.

Earlier in his career, Lohrmann served as the state of Michigan's first chief information security officer (CISO) from May 2002 until January 2009. He directed Michigan's award-winning Office of Enterprise Security for almost seven years.

Lohrmann's first book, Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web, was published in November 2008.  Lohrmann was also the chairman of the board for 2008-2009 and past president (2006-2007) of the Michigan InfraGard Member's Alliance.

Prior to becoming Michigan's CISO, Lohrmann served as the senior technology executive for e-Michigan, where he published an award-winning academic paper titled The Michigan.gov Story — Reinventing State Government Online. He also served as director of IT and CIO for the Michigan Department of Management and Budget in the late 1990s.

Lohrmann has more than 26 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 U.S./UK military facility.

Lohrmann is a distinguished guest lecturer for Norwich University in the field of information assurance. He also has been a keynote speaker at IT events around the world, including numerous SecureWorld and ITEC conferences in addition to online webinars and podcasts. He has been featured in numerous daily newspapers, radio programs and magazines. Lohrmann writes a bimonthly column for Public CIO magazine on cybersecurity. He's published articles on security, technology management, cross-boundary integration, building e-government applications, cloud computing, virtualization and securing portals.

He holds a master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

NOTE: The columns here are Dan Lohrmann's own views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the state of Michigan's official positions.

Recent Awards:
2011 Technology Leadership Award: InfoWorld
Premier 100 IT Leader for 2010: Computerworld magazine
2009 Top Doers, Dreamers and Drivers: Government Technology magazine
Public Official of the Year: Governing magazine — November 2008
CSO of the Year: SC Magazine — April 2008
Top 25 in Security Industry: Security magazine — December 2007
Compass Award: CSO Magazine — March 2007
Information Security Executive of the Year: Central Award 2006