NASA hires former Microsoft director, cybersecurity veteran as CISO

Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz has her work cut out for her. NASA was the only agency to receive a failing grade on the most recent Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act scorecard.

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Credit: flickr/Jeff Keyzer
Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz NASA

NASA has tapped Jeanette Hanna-Ruiz for the role of associate CIO for IT security and senior agency information security official. She will start Aug. 8.

Over her 20-year career, Hanna-Ruiz has held positions in both the public and private sector. Most recently (not including the 5 months from January to May of mindfulness and meditation training, during which time she walked over 800 miles in 100 days), Hanna-Ruiz was a director of consulting services at Microsoft, with a focus on cybersecurity and identity management. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2012, she was Director of Cyber Forensics & Information Assurance at CSC.

Hanna-Ruiz's public sector experience includes a role as one of the primary authors of the the White House Cyberspace Policy Review in the early days of the Obama administration. "Jeanette brings considerable homeland and national security expertise, having worked at the DHS-NSA Joint Cyber Coordination Group; Department of Transportation; and Department of Homeland Security," reads the announcement from NASA. "Further, she played an important role in defining the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber mission and building up the Department’s cyber capabilities. She was requested by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to consult on legislation to improve our nation’s cybersecurity."

Hanna-Ruiz joins NASA at a time when the agency is receiving failing grades for IT reform and is being called out for its cybersecurity shortcomings, according to NextGov.com. A Federal News Radio report says that internal documents obtained by the news outlet "indicate NASA has anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of out-of-date patches at every center across the country."

As NextGov's Frank Konkel puts it, Hanna-Ruiz needs to "hit the ground running."

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