Cybersecurity Awareness Month

One of the greatest challenges I face as the NASA CIO is how to empower the NASA community’s use of emerging technologies while ensuring that use does not compromise NASA and the NASA mission.  This balancing act is a critical part of the decisions I make in leading the organization forward.  As each new advancement becomes the “must have “technology, security stands up to caution the community and ask that we take a few moments to ensure that the new technology will not harm the Agency in the long run.  This pause often feels like a lifetime; however, the few moments we are asked to wait for the next best thing is invaluable. 

Without effective security practices, our achievements and innovations are easily lost, stolen, or misused.  There is only so much I can do from my organization.  The NASA community must take security considerations into account if NASA is going to maintain its technological and innovative edge, and to help ensure that NASA’s important work in furthering aeronautical and space research and technologies does not fall into the hands of others who may use it against our nation and our nation’s citizens.

The safety and security of NASA data is determined by actions taken, or in some cases not taken, every day by members of the NASA Community.  While you may consider it cliché, NASA truly is only as strong and secure as its weakest link.  During the month of October our focus is directed towards the important role day-to-day security practices play in securely enabling the NASA mission.  We aim to help everyone in our NASA community to become a stronger link in the security chain.  NASA kicks off cybersecurity awareness month with the NASA National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Training Event on October 3rd at NASA Headquarters.  Throughout October, NASA will host a series of cybersecurity awareness activities at each Center.  These awareness events are designed to highlight cybersecurity roles and responsibilities, and provide the opportunity to ask cybersecurity professionals the IT security questions you have always wanted to ask (e.g., “You really expect me to remember 24 passwords, each with 12 unique characters, without writing them down.  Why/How?”). 

Understanding and implementing the fundamentals of cybersecurity is a critical component of our ongoing success.  I want to remind everyone in the NASA community to STOP – THINK – CONNECT, as NASA Leaps forward … in Cybersecurity.

Linda Cureton CIO, NASA