CISO Exchange wants to boost security grades

The CISO Exchange, a partnership of chief information security officers and private companies, Tuesday named an advisory board of six senior federal IT officials and two corporate executives.

The co-chairman, Justice Department CIO Vance Hitch, introduced the board members at a FOSE press briefing. "The CISO Exchange brings together key stakeholders in federal IT security," Hitch said. "In addition to federal CISOs and industry partners, we will facilitate critical dialogue with the Government Accountability Office and inspector general representatives."

Hitch heads the CIO Council's Cyber Security and Privacy Committee. Melissa Wojciak, staff director of the House Government Reform Committee, will co-chair the exchange with Hitch on behalf of committee chief Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).

Davis announced the formation of the CISO Exchange in mid-February, when he released federal agencies' information security grades.

"I would emphasize that this is an operational group," said Stephen W.T. O'Keeffe, executive director of the exchange and founder of public relations firm O'Keeffe & Co. of Alexandria, Va. He said it would produce an annual report and hold quarterly meetings and other information security events, adding, "We are focused 100 percent on improving federal security report card ratings."

The federal members of the advisory board are Daniel Galik, chief information security officer of the IRS, Justice CISO Dennis Heretick, Defense Department CISO Robert Lentz, State CISO Jane Scott Norris, Housing and Urban Development CISO Lisa Schlosser, and Homeland Security CISO Robert West. All the federal board members except Heretick attended the press briefing.

CISO Exchange will get its funding from the private sector. Companies participate at three membership levels, paying $75,000, $25,000 or $5,000 for varying levels of benefits.

O'Keeffe & Co. will provide management services to the for-profit organization, for which it will bill by the hour. The organization's Web site, www.cisoexchange.org, is registered to O'Keeffe & Co.

Two corporations, Computer Sciences Corp. and NetSec of Herndon, Va., have joined the privately funded organization at the Exchange Fellows level, the highest of the three levels of membership. The firms receive a seat on the advisory board and other benefits.

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