Dan Lohrmann Dan Lohrmann

Security-conscious professionals are often stereotyped as the equivalent of Dr. No in the first James Bond 007 film. The conventional wisdom: Innovative ideas must be submitted to the security staff to see if the new device or approach will be allowed. Unfortunately security gurus often retort with a (hopefully) polite "can't do that" or "sorry, it's against the policy."

In some governments, business customers view the CIO and possibly the entire IT organization as impediments to quickly implementing new consumer technologies. Gartner calls this trend the "consumerization of IT."

Taking a big step back, some public CIOs are developing a credibility problem that could become career threatening. What's to be done beyond a public relations campaign and adjusting that "no way" message to include more secure, "can-do" options?

Bruce Schneier, a popular security expert, recently declared the endless broadening of security now includes all aspects of human behavior online. Though some articles pronounce, "it's the data, stupid," personal and corporate reputations as well as public perceptions of government are also at stake. IT leaders need to help staff understand the impact of their online actions. As we continue to roll out security software to an endless list of devices, such as Web-enabled cell phones, virtual-world decisions are starting to show up in more areas of real-world office life.

Cyber-space activities are grabbing an ever-growing influence over home and work life. Virtual life intermingles with real life as never before, and the blurry distinction between the two will become even grayer as the 21st century progresses.

How can public CIOs help with integrity when government workers are online? As cyber-space rapidly changes over the next decade, we need a paradigm shift in thinking about employees' virtual life. With the ranks of mobile workers continuing to grow and a host of other cultural issues knocking at the door, we need to rethink how we interact with our biggest government asset and biggest network vulnerability: our employees.

Despite the benefits of Web-based collaboration, government employees face an exploding number of opportunities to engage in dangerous cyber-activities. In my new book, Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web, I coin the phrase "integrity theft" to describe this issue. I've seen some of the best and brightest lose everything - their personal reputations, jobs, marriages or families - by succumbing to these temptations. More often, individuals develop bad cyber-habits that cripple their career growth, harm the business or impact security in various unintentional ways. In reality, integrity theft works as the covert brother to identity theft; both can harm individuals, businesses and governments.

Rather than solely focusing on the minority of bad guys trying to break in, I believe we need to enable new ways for the majority of end-users to exhibit personal online integrity in this complex Web 2.0 world. In academic terms, I'm talking about addressing cyber-ethics - but for grown-ups. This includes training, but with more tact than traditionally offered, end-user awareness seminars.

A new e-morality is emerging in cyber-space that is being felt by governments and businesses nationwide. Public CIOs are perfectly situated to help their colleagues pinpoint relevant workplace issues and provide new pragmatic solutions that win back the hearts and minds of staff. We must help employees develop good online practices that I call the "Seven Habits of Online Integrity." I describe each of these habits in detail in the book. Here's a quick outline:

  1. Refresh Your Values in Cyber-Space
  2. Pledge Personal Online Integrity
  3. Seek Trusted Accountability
  4. Apply Helpful Technology
  5. Balance Online and Offline Life
  6. Practice Humble Authenticity
  7. Become a Cyber-Ambassador for Good

No doubt, there will always be a minority of bad apples among us. But spend more time with the good apples. Public CIOs and their technology staff need to do more than disable the bad. We need to be enabling the good.


On Oct. 20, 2008, Dan Lohrmann was named one of Governing magazine's Public Officals of the Year. You can read Dan Lohrmann's Government Technology blog here.


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