STATETECH: CDT is refreshing the focus on employee training generally and cybersecurity training specifically. Will this be a big lift for California?
Bailey-Crimmins: When the pandemic hit, California shifted nearly 80 percent of its 250,000-member workforce to remote work in the space of a month. During that hectic period, we were required to deliver mandated training to a state workforce that was, for the most part, isolated at home.
We put our heads together to imagine how we could continue to deliver a first-rate program to our state tech community and what that program would look like. The result was to move 100 percent of professional development online. That move and the massive influx of employees online gave rise to the issue of security and spotlighted the importance of and need for qualified cybersecurity specialists. California state government’s physical IT assets experience over 400 million malicious probes daily, so cybersecurity is a big part of our training and one that we take very seriously.
Every state employee is required to undergo annual cybersecurity training, and we provide excellent professional development programs for our community of public security professionals. One of our most popular training vehicles is the Information Security Leadership Academy, which prepares professionals for expanded roles within their security offices. Seeing the success of this academy, we created a less time-intensive cybersecurity offering geared for senior professionals looking to refresh their skills in methodology and best practices — the Cybersecurity Boot Camp.
We also looked to the future and established a cybersecurity pipeline that will help the state fill necessary security positions. This includes co-hosting the annual California State Cybersecurity Education Summit, which drew 1,200 participants last year; working with other state entities and partnering with community colleges, California State University and University of California communities as part of the governor’s Cybersecurity Task Force for Workforce Development and Education Subcommittee to create a cybersecurity degree program; and encouraging California schools and students to participate in the CyberStart America program.
STATETECH: Procurement reform seems to be a priority for CDT. In the early days of the pandemic, we saw state governments exercising emergency authority and procuring things very quickly. Are any changes inspired by that sort of authority
Bailey-Crimmins: California had been undergoing a procurement renaissance for the past several years. It’s part of a statewide culture change that rethinks how the state conducts business and how we ideate and deliver procurement. Like many governments, emergency procurements were a regular occurrence for us during 2020. CDT delivered 75 emergency procurements that year, averaging only 11 days each. Inspired by our ability to produce quick procurements in an emergency and under the leadership of our governor, we’ve permanently changed the way we think about what’s possible. Agility is the focus, and speed is the goal.
Our vision is to make procurement easier, fair and reasonable for all parties involved. CDT’s responsibility is to identify the approach that delivers the best value for our state partners. To accomplish this, we streamlined our approaches through initiatives like challenge-based procurement, modernized requests for proposals and modular contracting. Currently, we’re working to create a Technology Procurement Community of Practice to drive participation and engagement statewide and provide better communication about the procurement process to the vendor community. We envision a community network of public and private sector professionals sharing similar interests, understanding and experience with California’s technology procurement best practices.