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Oklahoma Picks New CISO With Aim to Fortify Cyberdefenses

Oklahoma's new Chief Information Security Officer Matt Singleton has set his sights on establishing a statewide cybersecurity strategy after reviewing current policies and procedures related to the matter.

Oklahoma officials say that under the leadership of Gov. Kevin Stitt, the state has made strides in the unification, fortification and transparency of its IT operations. In a continuation of those efforts, Digital Transformation and Administration Secretary David Ostrowe and CIO Bo Reese brought Matt Singleton on board as the state’s new CISO in July.

Singleton, who spent more than six years serving in IT security roles at Oklahoma University (OU), told Government Technology that the knowledge he gleaned while building the OU Cyber-Forensics Lab has prepared him for how to effectively respond to cyberthreats like ransomware.

“Working with OU leadership in the creation of OU’s cyber-capacities was a rewarding experience that taught me how to articulate the value of IT security in a time before it was widely understood,” Singleton said. “I believe all of these experiences have better prepared me to take on this new challenge.”

He said he has been actively recruiting to build a new team at the state and plans to review and revise current policies and standard operating procedures within his first six months as CISO.

“Make no mistake, I know I still have much to learn and will rely on my peers in other states, our federal, state and local partners, our national associations and the incredible team we have in the state of Oklahoma,” he said.

Singleton said after he gets settled into his new role, he wants to establish a statewide cybersecurity strategy, improve data sharing capabilities, deploy a privacy practice, and create a culture of security, accessibility and privacy.

“I grew up in a military family,” Singleton said. “From the very beginning, my family instilled in me the values of service to others and striving for excellence in every endeavor. As I entered the workforce, civil service was the only path considered.”

Reese said in an email that Singleton is an ideal CISO because he possesses more than a decade of experience in the technical and policy arenas of cybersecurity.

Patrick Groves was a staff writer for Government Technology from 2019 to 2020.