Hawaii’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) formally announced that Vincent Hoang had been named the state’s chief information security officer (CISO) Dec. 15 — though he has been serving in the role since Dec. 1.
The position was originally created earlier in the year during the 2016 legislative session, along with two other cybersecurity-focused positions. In an interview with Government Technology, Hoang said his first two weeks in public service have been spent acclimating to his new environment and the varied processes of state government.
Despite a lengthy IT career in private industry, the CISO said he is taking a measured approach to his new responsibilities.
“I don’t want to come in with guns blazing," he said. "I’m trying to take a more moderate approach, just listening and observing, really baselining the people and the infrastructure, and being more comfortable with that."
In addition to most recently serving as an enterprise architect for Hawaiian Telecom, Hoang has also worked as a senior systems consultant for the Bank of Hawaii; a security engineer for Munger, Tolles and Olson; a technical support manager for TD Technology Services; a network performance and systems engineer for Cable and Wireless America; and a senior systems administrator of San Mateo, Calif.-based NetSuite.
Hoang said he believes his past work experience gives him a unique perspective when it comes to industry verticals and working with outside partners.
As for an immediate action item, he said bolstering the personnel rosters with qualified candidates takes a top spot on the list. Despite Hawaii’s lure as a tropical paradise, state officials have expressed frustration around attracting new and qualified IT workers to government service.
“The largest [priority] is to fill the positions that are open right now throughout the team,” Hoang said. “And then, as part of me getting acclimated with the environment and building the team, we’ll be able to put down more firm initiatives on what to get done.”
As part of building that team for the long term, Hoang explained that he plans to focus on building stronger relationships with the state’s academic institutions to not only better identify where new tech talent is coming from, but also to help establish the state as an ideal place to learn new skills.
“There are a lot of similar issues being in the private sector versus public. There is a talent shortage. So my personal approach is to try to work more closely to the student populations,” Hoang said. “My draw is whoever is brought on board is going to be immersed in a very, very large robust and complex environment, and they are going to be learning an immense amount with respect to their career and their trade.”
As for the overarching goals of ETS, the new CISO said that the need for a long-term, sustainable IT enterprise is one area where leaders have expressed interest.