As with many state CIOs, cybersecurity is a top priority for Mississippi CIO Craig Orgeron. But thanks to new legislation, he's got some backup when it comes to these efforts.
On Jan. 16, HB 999 — which sought to establish an Enterprise Security Program that would provide coordinated oversight of cybersecurity efforts across state agencies, and give the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services centralized management and coordination of state policies around IT and data security — was introduced by Rep. Scott DeLano, R-District 117, and co-sponsored by Reps. Gary Staples, R-District 88, and Kathy Sykes, D-District 70.
Less than two months later, on March 10, Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law.
"Now we have an enterprise security program in statute," Orgeron told Government Technology at the NASCIO Midyear conference held in Virginia last month. "We think it does two things: We think it sort of validates where we've been, but [it also] gives us a framework to partner with our agencies that are providing services to make the state more secure, so I'm really happy about that."
Cybersecurity also was top of mind for Orgeron around this time last year — not just as far as doing a good job with it, but also determining where to take the state's cyberprogram as threats and the marketplace continue to evolve.
"Bigger than particular cyberissues, I think it’s a question of governance," he told Government Technology at the time. "The governance of your state could greatly impact cyber. Are you a consolidated state — what kind of authority do you have? I think we are looking at a lot of those things."
HB 999 appears to be action on what Mississippi was contemplating early last year.
"Our Legislature provided great leadership to pass House Bill 999," Orgeron said.