NASCIO priorities

Cybersecurity is job #1 for NASCIO

It should come as no surprise that cybersecurity is the top concern for state IT executives. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers, in its recently released federal advocacy priorities, called cybersecurity its top issue and also highlighted the importance of flexibility in federal regulations, the nationwide public safety broadband network (FirstNet) and information sharing.

“Cybersecurity is a top concern for state CIOs, and with the tremendous growth in data that we anticipate, securing our public networks and the state’s digital assets are and will remain a top priority for NASCIO,” said NASCIO President Darryl Ackley, who is New Mexico's secretary of information technology.

Cybersecurity. Although NASCIO said it believes that federal action has led to some positive first steps in cybersecurity, such as creating and codifying programs to support greater security across the public sector, the organization wants to see more collaboration between the federal government and the states. NASCIO also argued for specific and dedicated federal cybersecurity funding, calling direct funding essential to preserve citizen services during a targeted cyberattack, protect federal programs administered by the state, protect personal and sensitive information, support first responders.

It wants Congress to act on legislation that encourages information sharing, promotes secure IT systems and builds a skilled workforce to maintain those resources. NASCIO also believes the Department of Homeland Security should continue to work with states to expand cybersecurity programs and personnel that support cybersecurity preparedness, protection, response and recovery.

Flexibility in federal regulations. State CIOs believe that outdated federal program requirements and directives hold states back from modernizing service channels, integrating program delivery and achieving better outcomes for its citizens at lower cost.  NASCIO advocates that the federal government take cross-jurisdictional and enterprise approaches to technology and should review and update rules that create barriers to adoption of new technology like mobile access and cloud computing.

FirstNet. Decisions related to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) are NASCIO’s third legislative priority. FirstNet must keep state CIOs informed on all aspects of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network build-out plan, the organization urges, including forthcoming regulations related to the opt-out decision and process. State CIOs are eager to partner with FirstNet, NASCIO said, and they look forward to helping build a viable business model, clearly defining roles and responsibilities and ensuring the viability of the network by maintaining flexibility for secondary use.

Information sharing. NASCIO also supports the kind of cross-enterprise collaboration and communication that better serves citizens and facilitates government processes that require information from multiple agencies. It advocates that Congress work with state CIOs to include and enhance cross-boundary collaboration in legislative proposals and ensure appropriate funding to enable information sharing.

Finally, the group recommends that the National Information Exchange Model be integrated into state government enterprise architecture and data management strategy to foster collaborative information exchange across the state government enterprise and with federal and local government partners.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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