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IT pros discuss the technology-based projects that most excite them

At the recent Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison, Wis., SearchCIO asked speakers to discuss fun technology-based projects that they have worked on recently. Their answers ranged from delivering broadband services to rural areas and developing cybersecurity curriculum to implementing blockchain applications and setting up platforms for sharing cyberintelligence data.

What are some fun technology-based projects that you have worked on recently?

Bill Nash, CISO, state of Wisconsin: I would say the fun project was our cyber-response team, where we are working with the local communities as well as the National Guard, and now the private sector, and putting together the exercise that we did last year. While it was extremely challenging and time-consuming, seeing the end result of that was very rewarding and, especially, seeing how those relationships were built. We've been at this now since 2015, and when comparing last year's event to the exercises from the previous year, it was just great to see how much more collaboration there is going on between our local governments, the private sector and the state government.

David Cagigal, CIO, state of Wisconsin: I would agree with [Nash] that the project required a significant amount of effort and it also brought the public-private sectors together for that exercise.

We are also providing broadband services to the rural communities of Wisconsin. In doing so, we have to build a culture of concern and be cognizant of the cybersecurity attacks. When you connect a device or a person to the network, you've opened that vulnerability to attacks. While we are providing those broadband services, we have to be cognizant of the cybersecurity threats that come along with connectivity to a network.

Pramod Achanta, partner, Financial Markets and Blockchain, IBM: Blockchain is fairly new and quite exciting. The way it can accrue benefits to the whole value chain is something that's quite fascinating. I've been involved in probably half a dozen … blockchain production-scale implementations and all of them have been quite challenging and fascinating to work on.

We're working with an industry consortium to implement a certain industry process based on blockchain. This one application is going to touch almost 2,500 broker-dealers and money managers.

I have agreed to work with our School of Information, known as an iSchool … to develop a cybersecurity curriculum.
Bruce Maasformer CIO, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Bruce Maas, former CIO of University of Wisconsin, Madison: I have agreed to work with our School of Information, known as an iSchool. There are somewhere between 75 and 100 of these schools around the world and they have agreed to let me work with them to develop a cybersecurity curriculum.

I'm not going to be developing this curriculum in a vacuum. I'm going to develop it based on what I know as a professional, what I know from my colleagues who are CIOs in private sector companies and what their needs are, and, frankly, with the expertise of our iSchool faculty. I'm going to be spending considerable time working with them trying to understand their perspective on what should be included in the curriculum.

Steven Gutkin, deputy director, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness: One of the things that's been kind of fun for us is we've established the New Jersey Cyber Threat Information Exchange. What we've done is use the [Structured Threat Information Expression and Trusted Automated eXchange of Indicator Information] models using Soltra Edge servers to be able to share automated indicators of compromise in near real time. It's been kind of interesting, because we're pushing a lot of information out with the hope that a lot of private sector companies are going to ingest them, and they are.

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