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'Ounce of Prevention'
ISSOs Provide Computer Security at NIH

By Kevin Haney and Cheryl Seaman

What would you do if you accidentally opened an email containing a virus? Would you know who in your IC to contact for help that could save you a lot of time and trouble and prevent the spread of the virus to your friends and colleagues? That helpful IC contact person is your local information systems security officer (ISSO). Every IC at NIH has an ISSO; you can find yours by visiting

The ISSOs form a critical first line of defense against viruses and other computer security threats by identifying and implementing standardized electronic security policies and information at NIH. They collaborate across the ICs about the confidentiality, availability and integrity of NIH electronic information resources. They discuss and present solutions relating to IT security issues, they recommend corrective procedures and they offer expert advice to other NIH working groups who formulate information security guidance documents and policies. Furthermore, the ISSOs are the official points of contact when calling in the NIH incident response team (IRT) — the IRT gets involved whenever NIH has a major IT security problem.

The ISSOs quietly provide a valuable resource to the electronic security of the entire NIH community. Your IC's ISSO: Is knowledgeable about security policies and procedures; works with CIT on security issues and incidents; implements NIH security policies and systems security awareness programs; promotes awareness of IT security issues, among other duties.

Get to know your local ISSO before the next PC virus strikes. They may be able to provide you with that "ounce of prevention" before you need the "pound of cure." If you're interested in learning more about the ISSO working group, drop by one of its meetings, which are open to all staff, any 3rd Friday of the month. For more information, visit its web site at:

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