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Nolan Leatherwood Tapped as Permanent Arkansas CISO

Leatherwood, who previously served as the acting chief information security officer for the Arkansas Division of Information Systems, has been elevated to lead cybersecurity operations permanently.

The Arkansas State Capitol
The Arkansas State Capitol
(David Kidd)
The state of Arkansas announced last week that Nolan Leatherwood will be serving as the permanent chief information security officer. 

Leatherwood had served as the state's interim CISO since April 2018. The CISO for Arkansas is part of the Division of Information Systems (DIS), which is under the Department of Transportation and Shared Services (TSS). 

Last month, Gov. Asa Hutchinson made Leatherwood a member of the state's COVID-19 Technical Advisory Board as part of an attempt to shore up Arkansas' IT infrastructure. In an email to Government Technology, Leatherwood described the current landscape of information security in terms of COVID-19's overall impact. 

"The increase of remote work due to COVID-19 increases the attack surface," Leatherwood wrote. "More remote accessible applications and networks means more opportunity for attackers. Though Arkansas employees are back in the office, there are several considerations the state would need to take into account if remote work were to be reinstated."

Leatherwood began working for DIS in 2001 as an intern before joining the division full time. A press release indicates he has been "a subject matter expert on cybersecurity legislation and budget proposals, worked on the State’s strategic security plan, and facilitated statewide security working group meetings."

Leatherwood shared what he has taken the most pride in during his tenure as the state's interim CISO.

"I think the largest accomplishment in the past two years would be the executive branch rollout of malware protection software to all endpoints," he said. "This has led to unprecedented protection and visibility for state departments."

Jed Pressgrove has been a writer and editor for about 15 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sociology from Mississippi State University.