Sep 08 2014

NASCIO Recognizes Top IT Achievers

Winners will be honored at this year’s annual conference in Nashville, Tenn.

For a quarter century, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers has honored states that embrace innovation and get results.

This year is no different. NASCIO is gearing up for its 26th State IT Recognition Awards, which will coincide with the organization’s annual conference in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 28 through Oct 1.

NASCIO has already announced the state finalists: 33 IT initiatives in 11 categories, including digital government to citizen, digital government to business, cybersecurity, and cross boundary collaboration and partnerships. Finalists were selected from more than 100 nominees and represent 17 states. You can view a complete list and description of the initiatives here.

The initiatives have expanded healthcare coverage, elevated the importance of good cybersecurity hygiene and much more. In Kentucky, the state’s health exchange, called kynect, has made it possible for one in 10 Kentuckians to get affordable health care for their families, the state reported.

“Why in the world would we want to build an exchange?” Chris Clark, technology program manager for the Kentucky Office of Administrative and Technology Services, said earlier this year. “The short answer is that most of our residents don’t have access to quality affordable healthcare. Kentucky ranks near the bottom in many national health-related rankings, largely due to the fact that there were 640,000 uninsured residents.

In Pennsylvania, state officials used an initiative called Portal Storm “that forced agencies to examine how their programmatic areas would continue to provide information and services” during a cyberattack, the state explained. The exercise incorporated an actual cybersecurity scenario, during which agencies were given six weeks to determine notifications and communications planning, how the incident would impact operations and other responses.

As the state puts more services online, agencies must have an action plan if services are disrupted by technical problems or cyberthreats. In a summary of the project, the state noted there were more than “30 disruptive events potentially affecting essential state government operations in Pennsylvania” last year. Of those, 30 percent were related to cybersecurity and network issues, “including a brief denial of service attack on two agency websites.”

Pennsylvania wants to see the success of the project expand beyond it borders. The state said it “welcomes the opportunity to share its approach and lessons learned or to help establish similar exercises.”

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