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How CISO-as-a-service has been working in North Carolina

Faced with mounting cybersecurity needs headed toward the presidential election, but lacking the financial resources to build out a more robust internal IT staff, the North Carolina State Board of Elections last year hired a third-party vendor to provide the functions of a chief information security officer as a service, rather than an individual official. The CISO-as-a-service model, which was implemented July 2019, has allowed the board to increase its network intrusion monitoring and risk assessment functions, and made it easier for state officials to know what information security investments to make. The program, said one adviser, is to provide the board with advice and guidance on how to improve its cyber defenses ahead of an election that U.S. Intelligence Community has warned is being targeted by nation-state actors. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Sharing problems, not solutions

Inside state governments, and during the pandemic especially, there’s a tendency for agencies that urgently need technical solutions to approach the central IT department with a predetermined idea of how their particular problems should be solved. But over the past 18 months, Maryland Technology Secretary Michael Leahy told StateScoop, he’s implemented a new policy on these interagency interactions that is leading to more-effective solutions, lower project costs and happier customers. “I know we all grew up learning the lesson that we shouldn’t bring people a problem unless we have a solution, but I want to break that down,” he said. Colin Wood reports.

Coronavirus data errors mark 'uncharted waters'

Counting errors, political feuds and an absence of data standards is undermining state efforts to manage the pandemic. Beth Blauer, the executive director of the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Civic Impact, cited a recent glitch in Iowa's coronavirus data platform that artificially lowered the state's reported numbers of new infections and positive diagnostic test results as one of several cases in recent memory complicating government's response to the health crisis. A lack of federal guidance all the while is further frustrating matters, she said. "The biggest tension is there’s no leadership from the federal perspective on data standards. Ordinarily this is something we’d lean on [the Centers for Disease Control] to help," Blauer said. Benjamin has more.

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