Shutdown Takes Toll on Infosec Pros

Systems Fare Better Than Staffers Who Question Zeal for Gov't
Minnesota has seen an increase in malicious traffic since the state government shut down a week ago, but state CISO Chris Buse says sophisticated intrusion-detection systems and an alert skeleton staff have prevented any harm from being done, at least to the part of state government IT controlled by the Office of Enterprise Technology.But Minnesota's IT security is decentralized, meaning that not all agencies get the same protections.

"I feel more confident with our environment, where we have some pretty sophisticated tools and people who are on heightened alert to watch our activities, even more so than they have done in the past," Buse said Thursday in an interview with

"But I have a lot of concerns about all the state agencies that aren't part of centralized processes yet," he said. "The leaders of those agencies I don't think understand the security risk that they face. There are some agencies that simply said, 'IT security isn't essential at a time of a shutdown.' I worry more about those folks than I do about our environment because a lot of those agencies do some really, really important stuff that has to happen. There are a lot of life-safety systems that they run."

Buse also frets about the 90 percent of state IT security staff furloughed July 1, when Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-led legislature failed to enact a budget, forcing the government to suspend all but essential services. Buse says some laid off employees have asked him for job references for positions outside of government. "I worry about these people and I don't blame them for going out and looking for jobs because collectively I think our political leaders let these people down," Buse said.

In an interview with, Buse:

  • Explains the process the state IT security organization took to safeguard systems and data during the shutdown.
  • Discusses how other states, the Department of Homeland Security and the Multistate Information Sharing and Analysis Center has offered to help Minnesota in its time of crisis.
  • Reveals his inner thoughts about reevaluating a career as a civil servant.

Buse, in an earlier interview, discusses how he prepared for the shutdown (see Government Shutdown Poses Unseen Challenges).

Before becoming state chief information security officer four years ago, Buse served as the manager of information technology audits for the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor. He holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting from St. Cloud University.

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