Suzette Kent was appointed federal chief information officer in January 2018, and has already helped turn visions and early ideas into reality
Those achievements include updating key policies, such as shared services, identity, credential and access management, the Cloud Smart strategy and Trusted Internet Connection.
In 2019, Kent’s office also launched a first-of-its-kind Federal Data Strategy and associated action plan for 2020. Additionally, she advanced the President’s Management Agenda goals for cybersecurity, including the creation of the cyber reskilling academies, the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition and directing the Federal Acquisition Security Council to facilitate a whole-of-government approach for supply chain risk management.
Kent’s leadership supported a mindset of continuous development to further shape 2020 efforts and successes. These include detail opportunities for cyber reskilling academy graduates, and the designation of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as the Cybersecurity Quality Service Management Office through the Sharing Quality Services Strategy.
Kent’s background and previous industry experiences influence the way she directs the office today.
“The experiences working in financial services with banks, software companies and consulting companies around the world over my career has emphasized some key themes that always influence how I approach any initiative,” she said.
Those themes include clarity of mission and an importance of understanding the expectations of stakeholders.
“This is important in both public and private sector, but often much more complex in the government realm,” Kent said.
She also ensures security is a part of every consideration — from technology and operations to workforce behaviors.
“In the federal government, like in financial services companies, security of networks, data and privacy are critical to gaining trust and confidence from those you serve and crucial to achieving mission,” Kent said.
Along with the influential themes she’s kept with her throughout her career, Kent relies on strategic and innovative initiatives to advance federal cybersecurity missions.
She said the administration has focused on improving cybersecurity for federal agencies in a range of key areas — technical capabilities, operational capabilities and workforce development.
“On the technical side, we have improved protection and defense capabilities and addressed specific threat vectors,” Kent said. In fact, quarter-over-quarter progress was reported on Performance.gov.
“Operationally, we worked with agencies’ CIOs and CISOs and CISA to take an all-of-government enterprise approach to monitoring, improving quality of information and response activities,” Kent added.
Recently, Kent’s office designated its first cybersecurity-focused Quality Service Management Office to continue to improve and expand cybersecurity programs, products and services made available to agencies.
“These accomplishments and continued focus will advance cybersecurity missions today and create the foundation for continuous improvement,” she said.
In 2020, Kent and her team will continue to focus efforts on enabling a secure, modern and data-driven government.
“As we expand cloud-enabled solutions, digital citizen services and leverage automation and data to improve mission effectiveness, our cybersecurity operations and technical capabilities must also expand,” she said. “We will continue to focus on improved ways to collect, analyze, visualize and integrate cybersecurity data into federal security operations.”
Kent also looks forward to expanding workforce development programs working with agencies, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, vendors and public-private partnerships.