Apr 24 2017

NASCIO Midyear 2017: State Leaders Talk Security and Innovation

Amid rising cyberthreats and increasing citizen expectations, CIOs collaborate on creative solutions.

A stone’s throw from the waters of the Potomac River and the monuments of Washington, D.C., dozens of state CIOs are gathering at the NASCIO Midyear 2017 Conference to discuss the latest challenges and opportunities they face. The three-day conference in Arlington, Va., brings together state leaders and members of their staffs for educational forums and workshops, as well as networking.

In welcome remarks, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe highlighted the critical role of state governments in cybersecurity, and noted that last year his state experienced 76 million cyberattacks. As chair of the National Governors Association, he said, he has made cyber the organization’s “No. 1 signature issue” for all states.

“You collectively … have more information than the federal government does — our driver’s license information, how we manage our Medicaid programs, state tax returns,” he added. Touting the forward cyber initiatives of Virginia, McAuliffe said that there are 36,000 tech jobs open in the state, with starting pay of $88,000.

Early sessions also included a keynote presentation by Scott Wayne of The Frontier Project. A former British diplomat who explores the neurology of idea creation, Wayne believes that a shift in our personal habits and attitudes gives our minds space to form new connections, resulting in new ideas. “If we can just stay with a problem for a while, and allow our subconscious to kick in,” he said, “then we draw on everything we’ve ever experienced, everything we’ve been exposed to, ever learned, and we’ll generate some insight.”

Other Monday events included:

  • A speed-networking session, which allowed for quick conversations about the needs and visions of state leaders, as well as associated solutions and expertise that NASCIO corporate partners offer.
  • A session in which five state leaders took five minutes to discuss one of the CIO Top Ten Policy and Technology Priorities for 2017. The Top Ten is based on an annual NASCIO survey of state CIOs, and helps guide NASCIO’s programs, conference sessions, and publications.
  • A panel of state and private-sector IT leaders discussing the agile approach to technology deployment that states are using with more and more frequency.

A Tuesday session will cover how states can collaborate with federal partners to improve cybersecurity. Such state-federal partnership is a policy priority for NASCIO, one that reflects this reality: State governments administer federal programs and need to comply with numerous federal security regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Earlier this year, NASCIO President and Connecticut CIO Mark Raymond said, “Protecting public networks and reducing the risk to the digital assets of citizens and government is a shared mission across all levels of government, and it is our hope that our federal partners will work with state CIOs to achieve a more secure cybersecurity posture.”

Read articles from StateTech’s coverage of the NASCIO Midyear 2017 Conference here.


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