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Cyber event triggered process rethink, says US national lab CIO

Gaurav Sharma | June 4, 2014
A cyber attack caused one of the US Department of Energy's most prominent national laboratories to rethink IT processes and enhance centralisation, according to the facility's technology chief.

The CIO says ORNL's approach is "reasonably aggressive" on the BYOD front.

"The spread of BYOD in companies and government agencies is inevitable, and we are no exception. We have a highly mobile workforce and they need to be able to get their work done regardless of location and device. Our strategy is 'Any Time, Any Place, Any Device'. Mobility (including BYOD) is one of our major IT strategies. But, doing so in a secure way is essential.

"We've been doing limited BYOD with personal phones for some time. We are currently planning to expand our BYOD capabilities considerably, but being able to embrace a broader yet secure use of BYOD required a significant commitment and investment in our mobile infrastructure. In our view, BYOD goes well beyond just enabling email on personal devices. It also includes an Apps Store with a broad set of useful mobile applications that can help staff accomplish their work regardless of their location or the device they choose to use."

For the first time, this year's intake of research students would be bringing their own laptops under ORNL's BYOD programme.

Bartell says technology's scope for enablement is visible in every sector, but is especially true at an organisation like his. "One of our core competencies is high performance computing and networking. Technology, more specifically computing at scale, is a key enabler of much of ORNL's research mission."

While the facility's origin dates back to the Manhattan project of the 1940s, over the years ORNL, which is operated by UT-Battelle on behalf of the Department of Energy, has grown to become a hub for research in advanced materials, clean energy, neutron science, nuclear research, supercomputing and global security.

"It's hard to imagine how we could achieve our mission without aggressively leveraging technology. Furthermore, as a research organisation, we see this as a constant work in progress. You'll find CIOs from every sector acknowledging that IT is challenged every day to be more of an enabler to their organisation's mission, from retail to automotive; but it's particularly critical for a leading research organisation such as ours."


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