Georgia And Washington Strategize Cybersecurity Plan

King & Spalding

At the midyear conference of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (“NASCIO”) held on May 2, 2016, representatives from Georgia and Washington reported about their efforts to unify the different state departments to address cybersecurity risks on a statewide level with an eye towards protecting businesses.

NASCIO is a non-profit organization that provides state Chief Information Officers (“CIO”) with services that are designed to support their challenging role. This principally includes semi-annual programs which state CIOs attend to learn about new high-priority and time-sensitive cybersecurity issues for the states. Currently, the states are focusing on developing programs that will enable them to effectively act in the face of a cybersecurity attack. For example, on March 7, 2016, the United States Department of Homeland Security sponsored a simulation exercise for 10 states called Cyber Storm V. The purpose of the event was to strengthen information sharing partnerships across state and federal agencies.

Due to this increased focus on state preparedness, more states are focusing on the best way to allocate funding to developing programs in this area. At the NASCIO meeting, Washington’s CIO Agnes Kirk explained during an interview that cybersecurity can no longer be viewed as a strictly technology-related issue, and that her state’s strategy is to view cybersecurity as a policy and business issue, which will hopefully lead to increased funding to establish a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

Georgia has created a cybersecurity board, drawing from a diverse group of interested stakeholders. As explained by Calvin Rhodes, Georgia’s CIO, the Governor’s unified approach has increased cooperation among the different state departments.  Further aiding in Georgia’s progress is a streamlined budget process, which has already resulted in approved funding for the cybersecurity board. As a result of this approach, different departments are cooperating to implement a review of cybersecurity risks and create a policy that is useful for Georgia businesses. Information regarding Georgia’s strategic plan can be found online here.

Information related to the various states’ cybersecurity efforts is available on the NASCIO website.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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