IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Texas DIR Announces Regional Security Operation Center Partnership

The state’s Department of Information Resources will operate the new center in partnership with Angelo State University in San Angelo. The initiative will serve a range of local government and utility entities.

The Angelo State University sign.
The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) announced Thursday that it is planning a regional security operation center at Angelo State University (ASU) in San Angelo.

Amanda Crawford, the DIR’s executive director and state chief information officer, referenced the partnership during comments Thursday during a National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) roundtable discussion for corporate members.

The San Angelo center is an effort to provide real-time network security monitoring to detect and respond to network security, according to an "expression of interest" overview released by the DIR late last year.

“We are excited to partner with ASU as we expand cybersecurity services to local entities in the West Texas region,” Crawford said Thursday. “We received exceptional proposals from several Texas public universities, but ASU’s proposal convinced us that they will hit the ground running and lay the foundation for this program’s future success for all of Texas.”

Eligible customers include counties, local governments, school districts, water districts, hospital districts and regional state agency offices.

“Angelo State is proud to partner with the DIR on this initiative,” ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. said Thursday. “It fits tightly within our vision of being an innovative leader for the region, state and globe.

“This program will enable ASU to become a leader in the region and foster a cyber/technology community of practice with a variety of entities and groups, each with their own unique needs. Our key objective is to develop a cybersecurity center of excellence that not only is a regional hub but also one for the state of Texas.”

According to the overview document, the DIR and Angelo State plan to offer the following services for incidents that might jeopardize participating organizations and Texas residents:
  • Real-time network security monitoring.
  • Alerts and guidance for defeating security threats.
  • Immediate response to counter security activity that exposes participating entities and Texans to risk, including remote and on-site cybersecurity incident responders.
  • Policies and plans to improve the cybersecurity posture of RSOC customers.
  • Cybersecurity educational and awareness services for participating organizations to establish and strengthen sound security practices, including developing model policies and planning to assist participating organizations in maturing their cybersecurity posture.

While not specifically mentioned in the enacting statute, Senate Bill 475, a crucial element of the RSOC is engaging students to participate in providing RSOC services, giving them valuable hands-on experience while offsetting staffing costs.

SB 475 allows the DIR to establish additional RSOCs if the first center is deemed successful, according to the overview. The DIR envisions eventually expanding to multiple RSOCs at universities in each of the Comptroller of Public Accounts’ 12 economic regions across Texas.

RSOCs could provide additional protection across the state and help ensure all governments in Texas can provide continual, secure services to Texans.
Darren Nielsen is the former lead editor for Industry Insider — Texas.