Classic and new ways of improving cybersecurity

Venice Goodwine’s cybersecurity career has spanned over 33 years, starting in the Defense Department as an active duty member and then as a civilian. While Goodwine aspired to be a chief information officer early in her career, she developed skills more suited to chief information security officer.

On this edition of Cyber Chat, host Sean Kelley sits down with Goodwine to discuss her role as Department of Agriculture’s CISO.

“USDA is really interesting to me because the mission is similar to what I’m used to in working for the Air Force … that broad mission with the different mission areas really allows for a lot of flexibility and creativity when it comes to cybersecurity,” Goodwine said.

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Goodwine said USDA’s risk management framework is designed to understand all of the risks across agency rather risks to only the financial system, research systems, food safety or food security. Risk management framework, Goodwine said allows her to identify the risks and then determine what’s going to be her risk response.

An early desire to be a CIO helped Goodwine sharpen her business executive skills. She said she puts a great deal of focus on the business users at USDA and keeps the business purpose in mind. “I understand the needs and objectives and then I try to use cybersecurity as an enabler.”

Goodwine also believes partnering with industry is key to her success. “When I talk to industry, I say I purchase capabilities, not tools. There are a lot of tools, but what I’m looking for is a capability. “ Goodwine went on to say “Industry should lean towards understanding what those capability requirements are for USDA, and they’ll differ depending on the civilian agency that you work with.”

Goodwine said she wants industry to understand there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and that companies need to take time to understand those differences. “Every relationship starts with trust. There needs to be a mutual trust amongst us. I will ask [them] questions and the intent is that [they] would be honest with me and when they ask me questions, I will be honest back with them.”