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Staying Abreast of Application Development and Delivery

James F. Bal, CISSP, GICSP ,CISO, Western Area Power Administration
James F. Bal, CISSP, GICSP ,CISO, Western Area Power Administration

James F. Bal, CISSP, GICSP ,CISO, Western Area Power Administration

1. How has your IT operating model changed during the last five years?

In our particular case it has been marked by consolidation of services. During this time we have gone from 13 email systems to one, from a fragmented directory services structure to a unitary domain, and have consolidated and enhanced security services across the enterprise. This work was necessary to achieve the “single pane of glass” security picture we need to manage our widely dispersed organization.

2. What do you think are the biggest challenges that Enterprise Security technologists face in working in a more agile and outcomes based model?

The biggest challenge is staying abreast of application development and delivery. Most security architectures rely on a SDLC waterfall type model wherein security is applied at specific points. Security considerations in the agile world must be tightly woven in throughout the development and product delivery processes.

3. What set of skills do you think is required for the technology leaders to be successful in the new enterprise landscape?

More than any technical skill the ability to assimilate information quickly and the analytical skills to determine its relevancy. There is a Niagara of information that passes by your eyes every day; to be successful you have to be able to pluck out the relevant nuggets without drowning in the rest. If you try to know everything you end up knowing nothing.

  The world of “software defined everything” is offering us possibilities in security and service delivery 

4. Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?

From a security perspective or even from an IT leadership perspective, the rapid growth of cloud technologies is putting everything on its head. The world of “software defined everything” is offering us possibilities in security and service delivery we never dreamed of. And the advantages of scale this provides make truly advanced capabilities available to the most parsimonious among us.

5. We are all dealing with technology every day. How does technology drive your life?

As a CISO I’m kind of awash in it. But personally it’s that sense of connection to everybody and everything that I care about. And while sometimes that can be a mixed blessing overall it has made my life much more enjoyable and simple. I’d a retired Naval officer in the 1970s we would leave San Diego and that goodbye pierside was the last time you saw or spoke to your loved ones for seven months. Now our technology makes it like you never left. To me that’s priceless.

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