All governments, be they at the federal, state, or local level, need to invest in a cybersecurity infrastructure that is vigilantly monitored and maintained. Part of the reason is that governments of all sizes need to deal with motives and attack types that similarly sized private sector organizations don’t have to contend with, like politically motivated defacement attacks or attempts to disrupt election infrastructure.
Previewing his discussion at Fal.Con for Public Sector next week, Ohio Chief Information Officer, Ervan Rodgers, sat down with us to briefly share some of the considerations that go into defending his state’s sprawling network of agencies, boards, departments, and commissions against increasingly sophisticated malicious actors.
Here is what he had to say:
GovCyberHub (GCH): Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your responsibilities as Ohio’s Chief Information Officer?
Ervan Rodgers: I was appointed by Governor Mike DeWine to serve as his State Chief Information Officer (State CIO) on Dec 4, 2018 and took office in January 2019.
As State CIO, I am also Assistant Director of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), which houses the State’s Office of Information Technology.
My primary job responsibilities include setting the information technology direction for the State of Ohio. My team is focused on centralized services that include network, infrastructure, and the State’s data center and enterprise services for State agencies, boards, and commissions. To extend my reach, I have several agency-level CIOs that are a dotted line to my office. Guided by the mantra of “One Team One Goal,” we have made great progress through our collaborative efforts.
GCH: Atop a large industrial state’s IT infrastructure, what are your principle cybersecurity concerns? Why do malicious actors find state governments to be targets of interest?
Ervan Rodgers: As CIO for the State of Ohio, cybersecurity remains top of mind. In fact, I believe that every solution should begin and end with cybersecurity at the core. Malicious actors are always busy and continue to target virtually every public and private organization.
To combat this, our cybersecurity posture is ensuring we have a well-balanced offense and solid defense, actively protecting our systems through technology, and just as importantly, by continuously educating and engaging our end-users in relation to cyber-threats.
GCH: Do you think your best practices are transferable to other state CIO offices? If so, what advice would you give them as they look to replicate them in their state?
Ervan Rodgers: The National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) has a wealth of knowledge, which we all cross-pollinate for the most effective posture.
GCH: What are you planning to discuss during your session at the upcoming Fal.Con Public Sector virtual event? What can attendees expect?
Ervan Rodgers: Attendees can expect a lively discussion on how the new government workforce is exceeding expectations while working from home in this COVID-19 pandemic. They are getting it done for the citizens of Ohio through collaboration and acting as one team with one goal.
GCH: Who do you think would benefit from attending Fal.Con this year? Why is now an important time to hold this event and why is it important to bring this community together – even virtually?
Ervan Rodgers: Sharing is caring, and even more important in this new norm we are all facing is for us to continue networking and educating, while learning from our colleagues’ vast experiences and perspectives.