Michigan names new top cybersecurity official

Laura Clark, who became the state's acting chief security officer in June 2020, will continue in the roll full-time, state officials said.
Michigan State Capitol Building
Michigan state capitol building (Getty Images)

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget last month named Laura Clark as the state’s new chief security officer, making her Michigan’s top cybersecurity official.

Clark, who has worked in state government, had been acting security officer since last June, when her predecessor, Chris DeRusha, left to join Joe Biden’s presidential campaign as its chief information security officer. (DeRusha was also named federal CISO shortly after Biden was sworn in.)

Michigan Chief Security Officer Laura Clark (State of Michigan)

In her new role, which became official Jan. 25, Clark will also act as the director of DTMB’s cybersecurity and infrastructure protection division, which is responsible for both the state government’s digital assets as well as the physical security and emergency planning for facilities under the department’s management.


“Laura brings a unique blend of strengths to the role, including leadership, vision, and strategic and tactical planning, along with the ability to promote collaboration at all levels, and to support critical, high-level statewide projects to successful completion,” a DTMB press release read. “As part of DTMB’s leadership team, Laura will help lead the formulation and implementation of policies, strategic plans, and directives, ensuring security is considered, as the department develops technology solutions for Michigan’s future.”

As chief security officer, one of Clark’s duties will be to lead “numerous” partnerships between the Michigan state government and local agencies. In the past, the state has launched programs like “CISO-as-a-service,” in which 13 municipal governments pooled their cybersecurity management duties.

Clark’s predecessor, DeRusha, was also an advocate for increased federal funding for state cybersecurity efforts, appearing before the U.S. Senate last year to push for a grant program.

More recently, DTMB has increased its public-facing cybersecurity programs. The agency last week launched a free mobile app for Michiganders that warns them if their phones are connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

Benjamin Freed

Written by Benjamin Freed

Benjamin Freed was the managing editor of StateScoop and EdScoop, covering cybersecurity issues affecting state and local governments across the country. He wrote extensively about ransomware, election security and the federal government’s role in assisting states and cities with information security.

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