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05/06/2020
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WorkScoop

Telework forever?

COVID-19 could effectively digitize entire government agencies even after public health measures are lifted, according to state IT leaders who spoke yesterday during webcasts hosted by NASCIO. The coronavirus pandemic, multiple states’ CIOs said, is changing attitudes about remote work. Some states had a bumpy transition to remote work as the crisis spread, like Missouri, where CIO Jeff Wann said many agencies had an "aversion" to remote work, believing it to be a burden for anybody but IT staff. But other CIOs said their states are thriving under the new circumstances. “The cat’s out of the bag,” Ohio's Ervan Rodgers. “We’ve proven we can be just as productive if not more productive.” And Maryland CIO Michael Leahy mused his agency might go completely virtual, even after the pandemic ends.   Ryan Johnston reports.


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Indiana social services agency recruits with VR

With an annual turnover rate of 50 percent, being a case worker for the Indiana Department of Child Services isn’t for everyone. But Kevin Jones, the department’s chief information officer, said that the introduction of a virtual-reality simulation to show applicants what the job is like before they sign on has reduced that turnover figure by 18 percent. The simulations, which won a NASCIO award this week, give would-be case workers a chance to experience what they might encounter during a home visit, speaking to parents under the influence of drugs or alcohol and interacting with a child. Colin Wood has details.


In 2020, state and local cybersecurity requires the entire organization

Anyone who’s spent time in a government IT role is familiar with the malware’s devastating results. Ransomware attacks don’t just hinder government departments — the effects radiate out to all constituents in a community, impacting people's ability to connect with public services or pay their bills. To create a more robust security posture that can identify and defend against threats, it takes the focused effort of the entire organization, former Santa Clara County, California, CIO Ann Dunkin writes in a new commentary. Before an incident happens, it’s critical to develop resiliency and crisis plans that outline steps community stakeholders should take in the wake of a breach, Dunkin writes. Read the full column.


'Whole-of-state' cybersecurity efforts rely on good communications

Similar to Dunkin's reminder that cybersecurity is an governmentwide responsibility, states are increasingly adopting a "whole-of-state" approach, in which every agency with a stake in IT security plays its part. During a NASCIO webcast earlier this week, North Carolina Chief Risk Officer Maria Thompson said that strategy relies on strong communications and finding local partners trusted in their communities. In her state, she's found one of those partners in Randy Cress, the CIO and assistant manager of Rowan County, and a leader of an "IT Strike Team" made up of local technology officials who provide mutual aid to each other after natural disasters and — increasingly — cyberattacks. “Find someone held in high regard in the local counties who can help you build bridges," Thompson said. Benjamin Freed has more.


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