California Names Deputy as New CISO

Governor Taps Office of Information Security Veteran to Head Unit
California Names Deputy as New CISO

Gov. Jerry Brown has tapped Michele Robinson as California's new director of the Office of Information Security. She's been acting director since February, when Keith Tresh stepped down.

See Also: Zero Trust Webinar: Research Insights Exploring the Actionable, Holistic & Integrative Approach to Security

Brown on May 30 unveiled the appointment of Robinson, who had held multiple jobs since 2007 in the information security office, which is part of the California Technology Agency. Among other positions Robinson held: deputy director, deputy CISO and assistant CISO.

Technology Agency Secretary Carlos Ramos says Robinson has taken a pro-active approach to keeping the state's information assets safe and building alliances to strengthen its cyberdefenses. "Her extensive expertise in threat intelligence, compliance policies and incident response will serve California well," Ramos says.

One of Robinson's chief responsibilities is to work with the private sector through the recently created California Cybersecurity Task Force, a state-led collaboration between the government and industry to improve the state's cybersecurity.

California state government has a federated model of information security, with each agency responsible for day-to-day cybersecurity. The Office of Information Security provides direction through establishing policies, procedures, standards and guidance.

The annual salary for the director position is $114,000. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

Boosting Agency ISOs IT Security Know-how

Robinson and Tresh worked closely together to increase the information security know-how among California's 120 state agencies. A three-year-old California law requires each agency to have an information security officer, but not every ISO is well-versed in IT security.

"We have been working diligently to try to ensure that the ISO community has the resources and skill set needed to be successful in those roles, and we've seen the need and determined there is a gap to fill with respect to training and development for ISO professionals within the state," Robinson said last year in a joint interview with Tresh [see Assuring State ISOs Have the Right Stuff].

One of Robinson's predecessors as California information security director is Mark Weatherford, who went on to become deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a post he left this spring to become a principal at the Chertoff Group, a global security advisory firm [see DHS's Mark Weatherford Resigning].

Before joining the Office of Information Security, Robinson, 48, served as the information security officer and privacy officer at the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board from 2002 to 2007. She served in multiple positions at the California Department of Consumer Affairs from 1994 to 2002, including operations manager and program manager.

Robinson is a member of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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