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Jothi Dugar: NIH’s Optimize Program Looks at People as Asset in Campaign Against Cyber Threats

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Jothi Dugar, chief information security officer of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Information Technology, said the NIH’s Optimize IT Security program reflects the “people-centric approach” the agency is taking to address cybersecurity concerns, Federal News Network reported Wednesday.

“We’re looking at people through the Optimize program as our biggest assets,” Dugar told the network in an interview. “Because why are we focused on cybersecurity anyway? It’s to protect our people, our science and the data.”

The Optimize IT Security program is one of the eight initiatives introduced throughout the Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of operations. It seeks to empower staff to identify phishing emails and other malicious behavior and report such activities to cyber officials.

The initiative also aims to reassess cybersecurity training from the perspective of employees. “We’re trying to change the culture to engage our employees [and] all of these different stakeholder groups, not just our IT department, and really communicate with them,” Dugar added.