Barb Hiemstra, Kent County Information Security Director Awarded IT Professional of the Year Award
Since taking on the role of Information Security Director, Barb has done an outstanding job of focusing the County's cyber security efforts. Up to that time, the work done by various IT teams were not well coordinated, and many things were done on an ad hoc basis. She changed that approach, and has prioritized activities based on achieving the most impact given the resources available. In addition, knowing that security is not just what IT can do but also depends on what the workforce does, she embarked on educating department management and our employees about appropriate security practices. This has the added benefit that what is security hygiene at the office also works for employees at home. Barb also engages the wider community. She is a founding member of the West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium, a group of private and public organizations that meet to exchange information about shared security concerns. Knowing that Michigan now has a cyber range available, Barb worked with the consortium to arrange what is now an annual "red team - blue team" exercise in the West Michigan area. This provides the opportunity for security professionals to engage in a spirited competition while strengthening their skills. She participates in other state and regional initiatives as well. As an example, Barb is on the IGNITE steering committee. She has worked relentlessly since taking on this position to better inform herself about security practices and issues. he holds a GIAC Security Leadership Certification and a GIAC Critical Controls Certificate. She is working toward yet another certification and attends as many educational opportunities as possible to make sure she stays current.