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Will pandemic IT stick?

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced many new challenges for states, but several state CIOs said yesterday they believe the widespread transition to remote work and other disruptions caused by the crisis present opportunities to advance technology’s role in government. CIOs have reported challenges in procuring enough laptops for their remote workers, educating staff on the necessity of multi-factor authentication and watching for phishing attacks, and in keeping overburdened unemployment systems running. But for some states, the rush to telework and increased demand for digital services are chances to accelerate initiatives that had already been underway. "In an emergency situation [agencies are] certainly more likely to be open to newer technology than they were before," Tennessee CIO Stephanie Dedmon said during a NASCIO webcast on IT and the COVID-19 crisis. Colin Wood reports.

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States and locals learn to play nice on cyber

On another NASCIO webcast yesterday, officials from North Carolina said that even though everyone's working from home right now, statewide and local governments still need to collaborate closely on cybersecurity efforts, following the "whole-of-state" approach that's been promoted by both NASCIO and the National Governors Association. In North Carolina, it’s resulted in local officials being more comfortable with assistance and intervention from higher rungs of government, said Maria Thompson, North Carolina’s chief risk officer. “‘State’ is in our title, but ‘state’ doesn’t necessarily just mean state agencies,” she said. Benjamin Freed has more.

Los Angeles' new 'resource hub' tracks stimulus checks

Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin’s office launched a new website last week to centralize coronavirus data and corral hundreds of the city’s assistance programs for groups like seniors, immigrants and artists. The COVID-19 Resource Hub is the latest data-centric effort from Galperin’s office meant to inform L.A. residents about how the virus is spreading and what financial and medical resources are available. Along with mapping coronavirus infections and deaths, it also shows users the neighborhoods where a greater percentage of residents are likely to receive the full $1,200 stimulus payments from the March 27 federal relief act. “It gives people a better sense of the communities in which they’re living,” Galperin said. “But it also gives the decision-makers in this city — the nonprofits and others — a better roadmap of where resources are going to need to be allocated." Ryan Johnston reports.

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