Changing Tides

By Gordon Bruce  |  Posted 2009-09-04 Print this article Print

Modernizing Honolulu’s IT infrastructure involved implementing 150 major systems. but these endeavors created a host of new security challenges.

Changing Tides

Since policies constantly change as new technologies are deployed, we continually evaluate and re-evaluate technologies and Websites. For instance, we have to decide whether Facebook is a social network, a business tool or both.

I created a networking site that CIOs throughout Hawaii can use to collaborate on projects. I’m also a member of the countywide CIO Council, which uses a social network to collaborate. Here again, coaching pages guide those venturing onto social network sites.

This activity is all logged, and DIT can provide each department with reports about its workers’ activity. The director of a department can find out if his or her group is spending hours every week watching ESPN and can opt to strengthen rules and take appropriate disciplinary action.

We consistently block known malicious sites where spyware lurks, as well as activities that are against the law, such as gambling. We view these tools as a means to improve employee productivity while mitigating liability.

Another productivity tool is video, which has become an established means of collaboration. The DIT has implemented video conferencing solutions from Cisco Systems, Tandberg and Polycom. The mayors of all Hawaii counties get together on a regular basis to collaborate by video, and the Honolulu Fire Department uses video conferencing. In addition, the city has islandwide surveillance video.

Since video can consume significant network resources, we want to ensure that employees are using it for appropriate reasons and aren’t impacting other services. Again, this is how coaching pages help us balance security, productivity and network performance concurrently.

Security vigilance never ends. In fact, we are going through a complete physical and cyber-security assessment right now. We’ve learned that technology is pivotal to running our government business. And as technology evolves, we must ensure that our security measures keep up with those changes.

Gordon Bruce, director and CIO of the Department of Information Technology, has led the city and county of Honolulu in expanding e-government initiatives. He has more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry.

Gordon Bruce, director and CIO of the Department of Information Technology of Honolulu, Hawaii.

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