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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Joseph Beal, Chief Information Security Officer of CCSI (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Oct 15th 2012

CCSi is a 20-year-old company that serves only the needs of the U.S. government. That’s quite a hefty client for anyone to handle. The U.S. government requires all the same types of support as any other organization. Since the information it handles is much more sensitive that what the average company does, CCSI has its work cut out for it.

Sramana Mitra: Hi, Joseph. Let’s start with your background as well as some context about CCSI.

Joseph Beal: I come from a networking background. I supported various commercial organizations to include what was formerly known as WorldCom. I had supported SAIC with a major focus on the Department of Defense (DOD) and federal market space. Most recently, I worked for Booz Allen in the information insurance area, supporting the company on security solutions and IA and certification and accreditation, which is now known as risk management. My main forte is risk management, with a focus on security engineering technology as well as networking.

CCSI has been in existence for 20 years. We just celebrated our 20-year anniversary. We have a focus on four competency areas, which are enterprise, architecture, PMO, and security. Security has a couple elements to it. One is that we provide full life cycle security services from security authorization, which is formerly certification and accreditation, to security engineering where we provide the actual frameworks for how you deploy system security as well as security assessment. For this we provide the kind of I&V portion, which you would normally call the pen test, vulnerability assessment, risk assessment for our clients as well as security operations where we provide certain aspects and services.

CCSI as a whole is a company driven to support the federal, DOD, and federal civilian markets. The government is our client, and only the government. We have contracts that spread across the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), DOD, as well as Health and Human Services. We’ve seen an influence and change in how we work and provide services, especially with the innovation that we call the cloud.

SM: What’s different about working in the government sector from the perspective of cloud computing?

JB: From the government perspective, you look at a lot of things when we talk about public, private, and hybrid clouds that make the government shy away and use of one of the most important aspects of the cloud, which is the collaboration public access role. We’ve seen the transition has been that the cloud is the word of choice; however, when we represent it to our government sponsors, we talk about what it truly is, which is utility computing. That’s collaboration. That’s being able to reach users no matter where they live, giving them real-time access to the services that they must consume. That’s where we’ve seen the actual shift or the discussions based on cloud from the government aspect of it.

SM: When you talk about collaboration, can you expand on what you see?

JB: We look at what the true driver is from the government’s standpoint. We know that the government’s under some financial strain. But the main driver has been to reduce costs and make service more efficient, to provide ways and means to cut things out without cutting out the services the government provides to the taxpayers and to their employees. When I talk about that main driver, the main driver from my standpoint, where we’ve seen a lot of progress, is with telecommuting. If you look at Washington D.C., the traffic is crazy. It’s hard to get from point A to point B within half an hour even if it’s five miles away. So, the main driver has been the telecommuter space, that virtual desktop, having the government employees have the ability to work from home, to have the same feel at home as they have at their desks. That’s causing the government to reduce the amount of real estate needed for employees. It allows them to save time on travel. Where they would once have to have a meeting to bring all people from sub-regions, they can now use tools such as video conferencing to have their weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings, which cuts down on travel.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Joseph Beal, Chief Information Security Officer of CCSI
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