CISO , Governance , Risk Management

A CIO Describes InfoSec Recruiting Challenges Finding Those with Right Mix of Technical Aptitude, Experience Is Difficult
A CIO Describes InfoSec Recruiting Challenges
Curt Kwak, CIO of Proliance Surgeons

Finding security staff members with the right mix of technical qualifications and real-world experience is a difficult challenge, says Curt Kwak, CIO of Proliance Surgeons, which operates 100 outpatient surgery centers in the state of Washington.

Kwak says he found it tough to locate qualified candidates before eventually hiring a "very seasoned security architect" last year.

"On one side, you have very, very intelligent, educated ... security professionals will very little day-to-day operational knowledge, and then on the other side you have [candidates with] very operationally based and hands-on [experience], but who lacked the academic and true knowledge of security and security trends," he says in an interview with Information Security Media Group.

"The people with the right mix of talent just don't seem to be available, at least through my lens and what I went through last year," he says. "I had to go out and go after someone I knew and worked with [in the past], who I knew had the talent and skill set I was looking for to try to attract him into our organization, and fortunately, I was able to do that."

Kwak's organization has been tapping into the expertise of the security architect who was hired last year to build out a security program while leveraging the skills of some of Proliance Surgeon's senior engineers "to broaden the reach and the overlooking aspects of security practices here," the CIO says.

The security architect's technical expertise, along with his security experience working in Washington state and with such federal government agencies as the IRS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "really helps to bolster our understanding and planning around securing our environment," Kwak says.

In the interview (see audio link below photo), Kwak also discusses:

  • The challenges involved with securing medical devices that are dispersed throughout dozens of care facilities;
  • The security issues raised by the exchange of health data with other organizations;
  • The biggest cybersecurity threats facing the healthcare sector in 2016;
  • The top privacy and security priorities at Proliance Surgeons this year.

As CIO for Proliance Surgeons, Kwak oversees all technology implementation and maintenance necessary to meet the business needs of the organization's 100 sites. Previously, Kwak was CIO for Washington Health Benefit Exchange, a health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. He also served as CIO at Providence Health & Services and oversaw IT needs at Western Washington Ministries.

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