Virginia appointed Michael Watson to the chief information security officer position this week, where he’ll also be the director of security for the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA).

Watson was VITA’s senior manager of IT risk management, and his new duties also involve managing risk. Watson must protect Virginia’s IT data and systems and create security policies for all state agencies. He has served in this role in acting capacity since July 2011.

“I am pleased that Mike Watson has accepted this position and will lead our security efforts,” said CIO Sam Nixon in a statement. “While serving in an acting capacity, he displayed a breadth of knowledge about state government IT and security that will serve the commonwealth well.”

Watson has more than 15 years of IT security experience and holds a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in telecommunications with a focus on security and management. He earned his undergraduate degree from James Madison University in computer science, and he’s a certified information systems security professional, incident handler, intrusion analyst and information systems auditor.