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OPM Appoints New Cybersecurity Adviser

The agency is picking up the pieces of last summer’s breach and taking steps to prevent future incidents.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack was a landmark in cybersecurity. It was ugly and unfortunate, but it will be remembered as an important moment for the federal government. Since the breach, the OPM has focused on preventing similar events. Last week, Clifton Triplett was named the senior cyber and information technology adviser for the agency.

One of the OPM’s objectives in strengthening cybersecurity has been to place the right people in the right roles. Triplett will report directly to acting OPM director Beth Cobert and will work specifically with IT services, capabilities and investments. In addition, Triplett will help determine the best strategy for securing the OPM’s IT structure and reducing the possibility of future cyberattacks. In a press release, Cobert explained that Triplett’s background made him the right choice.

“Today’s announcement of hiring Clif builds on the growing capacity here at the Office of Personnel Management and underscores our relentless dedication to protecting this agency’s valuable IT systems and information,” Cobert said. “Clif’s experience in building information technology infrastructure is top-rated, and I am excited to have him on board.”

Triplett has worked in the IT transformation field for 30 years, earning what the OPM described as “significant” experience with Fortune 200 companies and industry leaders in areas including telecommunications and defense. Preceding his business, Triplett served nearly a decade in the U.S. military, supporting command and control systems with the use of advanced thechnologies.

But the question remains: What is OPM doing to guard against threats? The agency’s Cybersecurity Action Report lists 15 steps for modernizing its systems and upgrading cybersecurity efforts, including the installation of stronger firewalls, the deployment of a better user-authentication tool and the appointment of a new cybersecurity adviser, which is where Triplett comes in.

“We all have a role to play in securing our systems and protecting our information, and I’m committed to supporting these critical efforts across the Federal Government,” he said. 

Jakub Jirsák/Thinkstock
Nov 10 2015

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