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Coronavirus Guidance from Our Nation’s Governors and State CIOs

The National Governors Association, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and other key organizations released guidance for our COVID-19 emergency. Here’s a roundup of resources.

After a historic week of dramatic disruptions to our way of life in America stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, March 13, releasing $50 billion to states and territories to fight the disease. 

The past week was full of historic events and cancellations, including numerous schools being closed nationwide or going to online classes, cruises and airlines changing schedules, March Madness being cancelled and NBA, MLB and NHL games being suspended

Public- and private-sector workplaces around the country activated pandemic plans following CDC and state health department guidance, such as these strong recommendations from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf: 

  1. Cancel gatherings of more than 250 people
  2. Staying away from recreational activities and public areas
  3. Religious leaders using discretion to prevent the spread of illness in their congregation.
In Michigan, the Grand Traverse County Health Department issued these Interim Community Mitigation Recommendations on March 11. The state government also launched the website, which contains local news, recommendations and more for various groups.   

NGA and NASCIO Guidance

The National Governors Association (NGA) has released a website.

This excellent resource offers trusted, reliable data, maps and state by state updates on numerous topics during this unprecedented national emergency. Extensive information is available on the following topics:

  • Timeline of steps taken by the federal government to address coronavirus
  • Resources on Funding
  • Planning and Preparedness
  • Legal Issues
  • Operational Coordination
  • Communications
  • Supply Chain and Health System Readiness
  • Long-Term Care
  • Health Insurance
  • Human Services
  • Housing
  • Employers
  • Schools/Childcare and Universities
  • Public Safety
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) held a call with state CIOs and CISOs this week to coordinate actions and they also released this COVID-19 Planning and Response Guidance for State CIOs, which covers topics such as:

  • What is the role of the state chief information officer (CIO) in coordinating a response with the governor’s office and other state agencies?
  • What is the role of the state CIO when planning for reduced staff?
  • What are the critical issues that need to be prioritized to ensure continuity of operations for your organization?
  • What are challenges related to expanded remote access for employees?
  • What are the potential cybersecurity risks?
  • How does the current circumstance impact the current project portfolio?

Other Helpful Guidance on Working from Home


There are numerous other helpful resources and tools being released regarding topics related to pandemic response and specifically COVID-19 actions.


On Friday, March 13, I moderated and presented material in this (free with registration) global BrightTALK webcast on Coronavirus Actions and Risks for Tech and Security Leaders with Earl Duby, CISO at Lear Corp. and Scott Larsen, CISO at Inova Health System.

This USA Today guide covers topics on getting started on working at home. 

Last week, I provided a long list of COVID-19 actions, risks and resources in this blog.

Here is another list of free pandemic response offers from leading companies.

Cyber Challenges — Including Phishing Attacks

Back on Feb. 2, when the COVID-19 impacts were just beginning in China, I warned about Coronavirus Scams: Phishing, Fake Alerts and Cyberthreats, but they are accelerating now.

ZDNet warned this week about state-sponsored hackers luring people to infected targets, including fake maps. Here’s an excerpt:

“The first state-sponsored hacking group to employ a coronavirus lure was the Hades group, believed to be operating out of Russia, and with a tie to APT28 (Fancy Bear), one of the groups who also hacked the DNC in 2016.

According to cybersecurity firm QiAnXin, Hades hackers carried out a campaign in mid-February when they hid a C# backdoor trojan in bait documents containing the latest news regarding COVID-19.

The documents were sent to targets in Ukraine, disguised as emails coming from the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.”

Final Thought — Lasting Impact on Where We Work

Every economic shock leaves a legacy. The deadly coronavirus will be no different. This MSN article says that whatever happens over the next several months will change the world forever: 

“Once effective work-from-home policies are established, they are likely to stick,” said Karen Harris, managing director of consultancy Bain’s Macro Trends Group in New York.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.