OPM appoints cyber adviser

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The Office of Personnel Management, victim of the worst online data breach of any U.S. agency, has hired a cyber expert to advise the director on evolving cybersecurity and IT-related issues.

Clifton Triplett will serve as OPM’s new senior cyber and information technology adviser, the agency’s acting Director Beth Cobert announced Wednesday. The position was created as part of the agency’s June Cybersecurity Action Plan, released in the wake of an online infiltration beginning last year that compromised the personal information of more than 21 million federal employees, security clearance applicants and those close to them.

The plan said the adviser would be in place by Aug. 1.

“To help build on the Federal Government’s efforts to strengthen our cybersecurity posture and provide assistance to individuals impacted by the recent cyber intrusions, we must recruit and retain a variety of highly motivated and qualified individuals from this constantly evolving field,” Cobert said in a statement. “Today’s announcement of hiring Clif builds on the growing capacity here at the Office of Personnel Management and underscores our relentless dedication to protecting this agency’s valuable IT systems and information. Clif’s experience in building information technology infrastructure is top-rated, and I am excited to have him on board.”

Triplett will report directly to the administrator to advocate for the agency’s cyber and IT infrastructure needs, and he will work “alongside” Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour to support the ongoing response effort to the recent hacks and help develop a strategy to mitigate future risks, the statement said.

Triplett said in a statement he’s “eager to immediately get to work with our interagency partners,” like the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, and the FBI, to strengthen OPM’s cyber posture through the steps laid out in the June cyber report, which includes expanded continuous monitoring, stronger two-factor authentication, deeper perimeter and internal security controls.

Before joining OPM, Triplett served as a managing partner at Texas consulting firm SteelPointe Partners, as CIO of Baker Hughes and in several senior IT leadership positions with Motorola, General Motors Co. and Honeywell.

Contact the reporter who wrote this story at Billy.Mitchell@FedScoop.com, or follow him on Twitter at @BillyMitchell89.

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Agencies, Beth Cobert, Clifton Triplett​, Cybersecurity, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Tech
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