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Systems Speaker Series

March 2, 2022

The Board’s Systems Speaker Series was an ongoing effort to help educate the Board and public about Social Security’s IT modernization. In December 2022, the Board published a summary of the speaker series.


February 16, 2022 – Making Secure Systems Easy for the Public to Use

On Wednesday, February 16, the Board hosted its seventh and final session in its Systems Speaker Series: “Making Secure Systems Easy for the Public to Use.” Lorrie Cranor, DSc, professor and director of the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, presented findings from her research on IT systems security, privacy, and usability. Specifically, Dr. Cranor discussed users’ problems when interacting with authentication systems, privacy choice interfaces, and other security and privacy tools. She also explained the implications of her approach for public policy and administration.

  • Lorrie Cranor, the Director and Bosch Distinguished Professor in Security and Privacy Technologies of CyLab and the FORE Systems Professor of Computer Science and of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Making Secure Systems Easy for the Public to Use

January 27, 2022 – IT Acquisition

On Thursday, January 27, the Board continued its systems speaker series with its sixth session, which focused on the federal IT acquisition process and its implications for Social Security’s IT modernization and cybersecurity efforts.

  • Laura StantonAssistant Commissioner, Office of Information Technology Category (ITC), Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), GSA
  • Bill Zielinski, Chief Information Officer (CIO), City of Dallas

IT Acquisition

November 19, 2021 – Cybersecurity

On Friday, November 19, the Social Security Advisory Board held its fifth systems speaker series session on cybersecurity. Two briefings covered federal cybersecurity initiatives and lessons learned from the public and private sectors.  

  • Dave PownerExecutive Director, Center for Data-Driven Policy, and DirectorStrategic Engagement and Partnerships, MITRE Corporation
  • Jim Richberg, Public Sector Field CISO and Vice PresidentInformation Security, Fortinet

Federal Cybersecurity Landscape

July 30, 2021 – Customer Experience

On Friday, July 30, the Board held its fourth systems speaker series event on customer experience as a driver for modernizing IT. This session focused on how the Department of Veterans Affairs improved the veteran experience by collecting, capturing, and analyzing data and identifying pain points through human-centered design.

  • Barbara C. Morton, Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer, Veterans Experience Office, Department of Veterans Affairs

Customer Experience

May 21, 2021 – Modernizing Legacy IT Systems

On Friday, May 21, the Board hosted its third systems speaker series event on how federal CIOs use IT modernization efforts to advance agency missions.

  • Kevin C. Walsh, Director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity, Government Accountability Office
  • Robert Klopp, Owner/Principal, Skyland Digital Services; former Deputy Commissioner for Systems and Chief Information Officer, SSA

Modernizing Legacy IT Systems

March 26, 2021 – Digital Identity

On Friday, March 25, the Board hosted its second public systems speaker series event on digital identity and authentication. The discussion was on the Federal government’s approach to digital identity as a shared service, including the status of, as well as identity authentication approach currently used by the Social Security Administration.

  • Phil Lam, Executive Director of Identity, General Services Administration
  • Blake Hall, Co-Founder and CEO,

Digital Identity

January 28, 2021 – Historical Overview of Social Security’s IT Systems

On Thursday, January 28, the former Deputy Commissioner of Systems at Social Security provided a historical overview of Social Security’s IT systems.

  • Renny DiPentima, former Deputy Commissioner of Systems, SSA
  • Alan Balutis, distinguished fellow and senior director of North American Public Sector Cisco Systems’ Business Solutions Group, SSAB’s Chair of the IT Systems Expert Panel

IT Systems History

Previous Board Work

Report to the Board – IT Systems Expert Panel Report

In December 2020, the Board released an independent expert panel report that reviewed Social Security’s efforts to modernize its IT. The panel made recommendations in four key areas: operating model, governance infrastructure, IT modernization strategy, and customer experience.