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Alabama CISO Ryan Allen Stepping Down for Health System Post

Allen, the chief information security officer for Alabama since 2017, is departing for a position as CISO for the University of Alabama Birmingham's Health System, and it is currently unclear who will replace him.

by / December 13, 2019
The Alabama State Capitol (Shutterstock)

Ryan Allen, the chief information security officer for Alabama since 2017, is departing his post for a position as CISO with the University of Alabama Birmingham's Health System

His last day with the state is Friday, Dec. 13, an official with the Office of Information Technology has confirmed. 

"It's been a fantastic two and a half years, and I'm really proud of everything we've accomplished," Allen said, speaking with Government Technology. 

Allen joined the team in November of 2017. Under his watch, Alabama saw an increased focus on cybersecurity workforce training and also opened its first ever Security Operations Center (SOC), which helped to centralize government security. Allen said the SOC had improved OIT visibility across the state, while also improving its ability to root out vulnerabilities and respond to potential incidents.

"We got the governor's support, built out the physical space, hired the right people, formed a committee to determine what the best tools would be to operate within the SOC," he said. "What it gives us is the visibility across all the different agencies and the network that spans the entire state."  

Allen said he was also proud of the work the agency had done to reach out to smaller governments and educate them about available state resources. 

"[I'm proud of] our public outreach that we did just trying to be a resource for local and county governments that don't have a lot of resources. We were able to attend a lot of county meetings — talk about cyber, threats, and talk about things that they could do to partner with the state," he said, including "how to join the state MS-ISAC, how to buy security products off of state contracts," or how to contact state agencies if cyberincidents occur.  

An internship program — opened under his watch — that encouraged undergraduates to go into the field of cybersecurity was another bright spot, Allen added. 

"With the shortage of cyberprofessionals, we felt it was a really good effort," he said. 

Officials with the state weren't available to comment on who would replace Allen. 

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Lucas Ropek Staff Writer

Lucas Ropek is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and writer in Massachusetts and New York. He received his Bachelor's degree in English from Kenyon College in Ohio. He lives in Northern California.

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