USM to Co-Host Summit to Break Down Silos, Promote Information-Sharing Among IT Officers

Adelphi, Md. (June 9, 2014) -- While their titles sound similar, chief information officers (CIOs), chief information security officers (CISOs), and chief digital officers (CDOs) often play very different roles within organizations.  CIOs typically focus on strategic management of information technology (IT); CISOs manage IT risk; and CDOs, who constitute a relatively new class of officers in the organizational hierarchy, focus on data use and analysis.

Depending on the organization for which they work, the individuals who hold these positions may work largely independently of one another, even though there is considerable overlap in the types of issues and challenges they face with respect to data management.

 Such "silo-ing" among CIOs, CISOs, and CDOs occurs not only within organizations and industries but also across them.  In an attempt to break down such silos, on June 11 the University System of Maryland (USM) will co-host the 2014 Baltimore Evanta Executive Summits, specifically designed to bring CIOs, CISOs, and CDOs from both industry and academia together to foster information-sharing and facilitate collaborative problem-solving.

The day-long event, which USM's Associate Vice Chancellor and CIO Donald Spicer and Assistant Vice Chancellor and Deputy CIO Suresh Balakrishnan have helped organize, will feature several keynote speeches, including one by Hank Lucas, a professor of information systems at the University of Maryland, College Park. Lucas will talk about the impact of so-called "disruptive technologies" (technologies that change the world in radical ways) and steps organizations can take to avoid having such technologies impede continued growth and development.

The event will also feature several breakout sessions related to cybersecurity, including such topics as the cloud computing revolution, data sharing, CISOs' role in protecting company brands, organizational innovation, and security data analytics. USM's Assistant Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Ben Passmore will also deliver a presentation titled "Philosophy of Data," examining the ways in which analytics can shape organizational understanding and knowledge distribution, among other things. During each of these breakout sessions, CIOs, CISOs, and CDOs will have the opportunity to learn from one another and share their thoughts and experiences.

At the same time, Spicer says the Summits will provide a forum for USM to showcase the work its member institutions are doing in cybersecurity. "Several of our schools are offering courses, and in some cases, entire programs focused on cybersecurity. By enabling the developers and instructors of those courses to interact with leaders in different corporations who are tackling "real-world" cybersecurity challenges, this event facilitates important dialogue that will allow us [at USM] to better align our courses with workplace needs and also demonstrate where that alignment exists already."

Most importantly, Spicer says, the Evanta Summits will provide opportunities for networking and relationship-building. "Getting CIOs, CISOs, and CDOs together from within and across industries is one of the primary goals of the June Summit. There are core cybersecurity issues we all have to deal with, and all of us who are working on it have something to offer to and learn from one another."

One simple example of the need for and value of such information exchange relates to the use of personal devices in the workplace. As Spicer explains, "Corporations and public sector agencies are just now starting to deal with employees bringing personally owned devices to work and wanting to use them for both personal and work access. This presents a huge problem for them, but we [in university settings] have depended on students using their own devices for the past 25 years. At the Summits, we can share our experiences in this realm and the lessons we've learned from them. Hopefully we can also come away with insights into how corporations have successfully tackled some of the IT issues we currently face, like how to use information about our ‘customers' (students) to provide better services."

For more information about the 2014 Baltimore Evanta Executive Summits and USM's involvement in it, visit

Contact: Jennifer Rose
Phone: 301.445.2756