Federal News Network: Collins used CISO role to drive cyber deeper into SSA’s mission areas

“’I’m a business man, who speaks nerd’ — that is how Rob Collins likes to describe himself.

Collins, who recently left after four years as the chief information security officer at the Social Security Administration, used that dual background to improve how citizens interact with the agency…”

“’SSA, for the most part, is a huge organization due to the amount of offices and processes that occur every year. But there wasn’t necessarily cyber elements embedded there. It was let’s look at it after the fact or during audits, but I really wanted to have a function that existed there all the time,’ Collins said on Ask the CIO. ‘We now have cyber-trained people that sit with the business and understand the business. They can better shepherd questions or concerns through the appropriate channels because in a lot of times cybersecurity is kind of like a box: You put stuff into it, but you don’t know where it goes or it’s not as transparent as that. I really wanted to open that up, provide more transparency about what it is that we do, and how we do it and have a better, quicker and more efficient impact to the actual mission.’

Over the last few years, Collins set out to hire or retrain two dozen information system security officers (ISSOs) to work directly with the mission areas…”

“Collins said citizens face an extraordinary amount of fraud attempts when it comes to Social Security Administration related services and through the social security number.

‘When I got there, we had just a large amount of failure rates with the old “know your customer approach” of giving you these questions that are hard for you to answer but easy for the fraudsters to with the out-of-wallet questions. We still had failure rates of roughly 50% with 30 million customers,’ he said. ‘Upon leaving, we have much higher success rates. We are in the 70% to 80% range now, with roughly 60 to 70 million customers. It really is opening up the capability for customers to engage the agency on multiple different platforms, which hasn’t been seen before. It’s really tied in, I think, to the successes that we had with responding to the pandemic because we were forward thinking on that and modernized that aspect of identity management.’…” Read the full article here.

Source: Collins used CISO role to drive cyber deeper into SSA’s mission areas – By Jason Miller, October 11, 2021. Federal News Network.


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