Craig Orgeron, president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) and Mississippi’s secretary of the Office of Information Technology Services, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, Oct. 30 about the readiness of state IT systems relative to cybersecurity.

“Elected leaders at all levels have come to understand that cybersecurity is a significant issue that requires their attention,” said Orgeron.

He emphasized that with cyberattacks growing both in number and sophistication, states need to continue engaging in collaborative measures with the federal government to address cybersecurity issues and improve policies state-by-state and nationally.

“As many successful cyberattacks could be prevented by good cyber hygiene and security practices, federal collaboration with state and local governments to create a culture of awareness and preparedness would also be a significant step forward,” Oregeron said.

He also emphasized that state government IT systems represent a critical constituent to federal infrastructure, and that the strategies in place involving their defense need to be aptly constructed and executed.

“In addition to states serving as a repository of sensitive data about our citizens and homeland, states increasingly utilize the online environment to deliver vital services, maintain critical infrastructure such as public utilities, and ensure our first responders receive the data they need in crisis situations,” said Orgeron.

Orgeron concluded with the need for more mature entities for threat information sharing, as well as the development of a common framework to further improve upon state cybersecurity.