Missouri CISO honored with national award for work in cybersecurity

The SANS Institute calls out Michael Roling for his advancement of security policy in the public sphere.

Missouri Chief Information Security Officer Michael Roling took honors at this year’s SANS Institute Difference Makers Awards along with seven states and their cybersecurity teams. 

The SANS Institute, an organization focused on cybersecurity education, honored Roling along with eight other winners in a Tuesday announcement of the awards. The organization uses the opportunity to recognize private and public sector IT security experts skilled at attack prevention, the creation of new defense techniques and state officials who have helped to cultivate the next generation of cyber security talent.

SANS Institute’s John Pescatore said the winners represented a diverse makeup of innovators that reflect the latest developments in cybersecurity.

“The nominations for the 2017 SANS Difference Maker Awards represent some interesting trends in cybersecurity,” Pescatore said in a press release. “From more innovative methods to increase the cybersecurity talent pool to creative, low-cost ways of finding and fixing vulnerabilities, this year’s winners have demonstrated they are working hard and making a difference in advancing security.”


Roling will join his fellow winners at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 15 for a formal announcement and be the only representative from government to be honored with an individual award. The Institute recognized Roling for leading a program designed to alert private and public organizations in the state of potential vulnerabilities. Roling identified systems at risk and warned of potential disruptions to infrastructure or data loss.

In 2016, StateScoop also named Roling as one of its GoldenGov winners. Roling said his main achievements include setting strategic cybersecurity goals and creating a culture of IT security in agencies. His efforts jumpstarted a staff awareness program targeting approximately 40,000 state employees. He also partnered with vendors to protect the state against shadow IT threats and advanced malware.

Also among those recognized were seven state governors — Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island and Virginia — and staff that have embraced the SANS CyberStart pilot, a cybersecurity scholarship and education program geared at cultivating new talent and local high paying jobs.

The full list of winners can be found on the SANS Institute website.

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