Institute hires new chief information officer

A picture of Leo Howell, the new CIOS officer. Howell will be tasked with protecting the Institutes digital information. // Photo courtesy of oit.gatech.edu

On Oct. 18, Tech will welcome a new chief information security officer (CISO) to its campus to oversee the protection of all of the Institute’s digital assets.

After the resignation of former CISO Jimmy Lummis near the end of January, the Office of Information Technology has been searching for a permanent replacement for the position.

Didier Contis has served as the interim CISO since then, and will return to his previous appointment director of information technology in the College of Engineering soon.

Leo Howell, who currently works as the chief information security officer and interim chief technology officer at the University of Oregon, will assume the role of permanent CISO at Tech later this month.

“The chief information security officer is effectively the person responsible for leading the cybersecurity that’s inside of [the Office of Information Technology],” said Daren Hubbard, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

Hubbard went on to list other responsibilities Howell will take on at Tech: “[The CISO] is basically responsible for both network and general internet security of Georgia Tech,” Hubbard said.

Howell will also handle the “planning and design and implementation of our security infrastructure that we use for cybersecurity, both in student areas and across faculty and staff,” according to Hubbard.

Howell will also oversee the application of the Endpoint Protection Plan that Hubbard kicked off over the summer, which helps users of Institute owned devices to protect their data.

Howell will also assist Tech in constantly evolving to protect campus members from new cybersecurity threats that constantly arise in this digital era.

Hubbard said he was excited for Howell to join the Office of Information Technology, citing his abundance of experience as an indicator of the strides the department will take in the next few years. Before joining the University of Oregon in 2017, Howell worked at North Carolina State University where he oversaw teams for their Internal Audit and Information Security Risk and Assurance departments.

Howell is excited to start the new position later this month, and is aware of the increasing importance of cybersecurity in a digital world.

“I am excited and honored to be joining the Georgia Tech community during this time of increasing dependence on information technology and unprecedented cyber threats,” Howell told to the Office of Information Technology.

“I also look forward to working with my team and stakeholders across the university to leverage cybersecurity as an enabler of excellence by developing a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to defending our digital assets,” he said.

Howell also joins the Institute during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which occurs every October.

As he begins his new position this month, he will begin to invest in the cybersecurity of Tech and continue to adapt to a constantly changing digital world filled with an increasing number of cybersecurity risks for both the Institute and the students that call it home, and the increasing size of Tech’s digital footprint makes the job of CIOS that much more important moving forward.