December 24, 2009 By Russell Nichols
Photo: Teri Takai, CIO, California/Photo by Gerry McIntyre.
As the number of stolen Social Security numbers rise and computer hackers continue to breach restricted databases that contain personal information, California's Office of Information Security received a crucial last-minute gift this holiday season to help improve cyber-security.
The California Emergency Management Agency awarded the office $4.7 million in U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants for cyber-security projects. The federal funding will help Teri Takai, the state's CIO, and her team conduct a statewide cyber-security risk assessment. The goal is to create a standardized assessment framework across all state agencies and streamline all IT operations.
Part of the grant will also go toward the Secure ca.gov Domain Name System (DNS) Project, which will upgrade the current infrastructure to improve protection for state Web sites and guard against cyber-hackers.
"We are extremely pleased to receive this funding and look forward to enhancing the state's information security posture across the enterprise," wrote Mark Weatherford, the director of the Office of Information Security and California's chief information security officer, in The Tech Blog.
The remaining $1 million in the grant will be used for statewide digital mapping system, which will use GIS and plot critical infrastructures and key resources on a common map to improve emergency management and responses across the state.
"Imagine that we will all have common map understanding of the houses affected by a large fire, the schools that could be closed, the businesses shut down and the evacuation routes and command centers that need to be set up," wrote Michael Byrne, the state's Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) on The Tech Blog. "Having this service will ensure that disparate command centers will be operating with a common base."
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