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As virus expands, CIOs plow ahead

As a global pandemic disrupts supply chains, markets and daily life for nearly everyone, state technology officials find themselves unexpectedly thrust into the center of emergency response and business continuity efforts. State governments face dual challenges in leading public response efforts and setting up their own employees for remote work. Many states report being partially equipped to handle the technical transition, already having the right tools — laptops, VPNs and cloud-based software — but not necessarily being ready to support their use on such a large scale so suddenly. “In these extraordinary times, our focus is on service to the public,” Pennsylvania Chief Information Officer John MacMillan wrote in an email. “We are focused on their safety and health. We are collaborating with our business stakeholders to keep related systems available and performing without compromising on information security.”   Colin Wood reports.

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Imagine that: data to be important in GIS

Almost two years after the landmark passage of the Geospatial Data Act, geospatial information systems leaders in state government are pivoting to maximize the power of map-based data. On a new episode of StateScoop's "GIS Addressed" podcast, experts from Minnesota, Wyoming and Utah said GIS teams need to use the engaging power of maps and the accessibility of map-based data to inform citizens and state agencies about the work they’re doing. “We have a bit more of a focus on developing ‘maps-as-a-service’ for state agencies to consume,” Minnesota GIO Dan Ross says on the podcast. “Instead of having [agencies] create their own, and create web services and things like that, we’re publishing them centrally and anybody can pick them up and use them.” Listen for more.

States urged to clarify election procedures during pandemic

As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic scrambles how states will administer long-scheduled elections for presidential primaries and local races, one election-security expert says that officials need to do a better job of clarifying who has the authority to reschedule or change the formats of upcoming votes. Five states have already rescheduled upcoming elections, while others have went ahead despite the many current advisories against large crowds. The upshot has been a lack of guidance on who makes the call. “Things voters deserve to have is a clear set of authorities, a clear set of guidelines,” said Chris DeLuzio of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security. Clearing up this murkiness would also go a long way toward combatting online misinformation and disinformation meant to deceive voters, he said. Benjamin Freed reports.

EAC makes another big cyber hire

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission is hiring a senior policy adviser to bolster its cybersecurity work with election officials and voting equipment vendors ahead of the 2020 presidential vote. Maurice Turner is set to join the federal commission at the end of the month as a senior adviser to the executive director, supporting the EAC’s internal operations and programing. “I want election officials to expect that EAC is a place that they can go for this type of information,” Turner told CyberScoop's Sean Lyngaas. “Whether it’s about security standards or new methods for election administration.” The EAC also recently rehired cybersecurity expert Joshua Franklin to be a liaison to states. Read more on CyberScoop.


Improve security practices with better data insights

As state and local agencies look to improve cyberdefense plans, the data they choose to collect and analyze can play a pivotal role in determining the ultimate impact of an attack. That’s why agency leaders should consider investing in a platform that’s able collect, leverage and understand enterprise data, according to a new Splunk report. The report details how modern platform solutions, capable of operating as a “security nerve center,” are better suited than many specialized tools at identifying gaps in network defenses. Read more here.

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