Oklahoma’s first statewide information technology Security Operations Center is now fully operational.
The SOC, officially launched in January, provides real-time security monitoring and threat alerts for all state computers. The goal is to allow the state to thwart attacks from hackers and other information technology risks at a far higher rate than in the past.
“We place the highest premium on keeping the taxpayers’ information as secure as possible,” said Mark Gower, Oklahoma Office Management and Enterprise Services chief security officer. “As statewide IT consolidation has progressed, Oklahoma’s ability to improve security across the entire state network has increased dramatically. The SOC, in particular, has eliminated a significant amount of vulnerability that existed previously when each agency was running its own IT services without any uniform, statewide security standards.”
As of Nov. 1, approximately 28,000 of the state’s 34,000 computers are monitored by the SOC. The SOC’s goal is to monitor all state computers by the end of 2015.
Symantec, a Fortune 500 company and leading information technology security provider, called Oklahoma’s security model a “blueprint” for other state governments to adopt.
“In today’s threat landscape, state and local governments need real-time monitoring and security intelligence to effectively protect against advanced persistent threats and targeted attacks,” said Amber Johanson, senior director, public sector engineering, Symantec. “By deploying a statewide Security Operations Center, the State of Oklahoma is taking the steps necessary to proactively protect their employees and residents from security risks, while also creating a blueprint for other state governments to adopt.”
The SOC is designed to alert a staff of dedicated security personnel to any potential threat to a state computer or the state network. It also tracks state computer usage to ensure users are not engaging in behavior that could pose security risks.
“In today’s world, all large networks face constant, daily attacks from hackers and other threats,” said state Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit. “The high level of security that Oklahoma’s state government now enjoys is possible because policymakers made the wise decision to centrally consolidate state IT services. Off-the-shelf security services were projected to cost up to $600,000, but we were able to build a superior solution at no additional cost using our own in-house resources. Increasing security to this level while also containing cost is a superb accomplishment that demonstrates tremendous talent and vision in the state’s IT workforce.”