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Missouri has made significant strides tech- and cybersecurity-wise in recent years, and it has three individuals in the C suite to thank: Acting CIO Rich Kliethermes, Deputy CIO Steve Siegler and CISO Michael Roling. For starters, Missouri received one of the few A grades in the Center for Digital Government’s 2016 Digital States Survey, which acknowledged its tech initiatives in public safety, emergency management, criminal justice and corrections, many of which have collaboration and data sharing at their heart.
The state also is working to create a portal that will make it easier for local and municipal governments to understand, and therefore comply with, state and federal environmental laws, rules and regulations. But it’s not doing it alone — Missouri IT and environmental officials are working with counterparts in Arizona to ultimately create architecture that other states can use. The cloud-based portal is currently undergoing testing and should go live this spring.
With so many technology projects happening across the state, the role of the CIO at the center is critical. Kliethermes told Government Technology last September that chief among his responsibilities is to act as an agent of change. “Truly the role [of the CIO] is a communicator, a catalyst, a change agent, asking hard questions on both sides — with vendors, with the business side, with our internal staff — giving them time to communicate their issues, their concerns, their ideas.”
As Kliethermes’ deputy CIO, Siegler — who has spent more than 25 years serving Missouri — is crucial in managing operations of the enterprise network infrastructure, and in overseeing the daily operations of the state data center, as well as the networks and telecommunications teams.
As for cybersecurity leadership, Roling is the go-to guy in Missouri — he’s been CISO since 2009, which means his tenure has far outlasted that of the average government chief information security officer. As such, he is frequently cited as a leader in cybersecurity, and was one of the first CISOs to implement a comprehensive cybertraining program for internal staff, a practice rapidly gaining ground across the country. And while he acknowledges the challenges of competing with the private sector for talent, over the last seven years, there has been zero turnover for Roling’s cybersecurity staff.
Roling credits a job rotation program, which guards against burnout and helps accelerate onboarding. “That has been a key factor in keeping our retention as high as it is.”