smartphone and city (ponsulak/

Digital services, cyber, cloud priorities for state execs

For state CIOs, digital government is becoming an enterprise priority, National Association of State Chief Information Officers Executive Director Doug Robinson said

Digital government has become much more than online service delivery, encompassing mobile services, authentication platforms, citizen engagement and digital assistants. Its growing importance is evident by its first-time inclusion in NASCIO's top 10 priority for state CIOs, Robinson said in a during a Jan. 25 webinar from NASCIO and the Public Technology Institute.

Forty-five percent of states have informally defined digital government strategies, based on data collected from the 2017 State CIO Survey, and Robinson said he expects that number to grow throughout the year.  More states are also creating digital services organizations, with 40 percent already having done so.    

Cybersecurity remains the top priority for state CIOs for the fifth year in a row.  Robinson said more states are adopting the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework and other risk-based strategies to close gaps in coverage. They are also  developing cybersecurity infrastructure and response plans to deal with recent ransomware and hacktivism events. 

“States know that they need to go beyond simply incident response, to go to broad whole-of-state cyber disruption [plans], particularly if they had some type of critical infrastructure cyberattack that disable[d] utilities and other critical aspects of delivery,” Robinson said.

States are continuing to move their legacy systems and workloads into the cloud. Fifty-five percent of states have a strategy to shift legacy applications to the cloud, and 28 percent already have a migration strategy in place.

When it comes to emerging technologies, state CIOs think internet-of-things devices, artificial intelligence and machine learning will have the most impact on or disruption to their operations over the next three to five years.

Robinson said to expect “significant growth” in AI capabilities over the next two years as states experiment with using it to assist with cybersecurity operations.  The use of digital assistants and chatbots is also expected to continue to expand.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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