How privileged access helps keep Oregon secure, efficient

Access to the state data center is paramount for Oregon’s cybersecurity posture.

Michelle Summers and Matt Massey, who both work within the state’s Enterprise Technology Services office, shared their process for implementing privileged access at the state data center. StateScoop TV got the details during the National Association of State Technology Directors’ Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this fall.

“We can never forget about cybersecurity,” said Summers, who leads ETS’ Windows computing program. “It’s in everything that we do. One thing we’re looking at is how we implement our privileged access at the state data center.”

The goal, Summers explained, is to ensure that privileged access is easier to implement, which will in turn save the state money and streamline the daily workflows of employees.

Massey, the state’s mainframe computing manager, said the challenge around privileged access was consistency across different platforms. In fact, ETS has established an entire team focusing on consistency across platforms to make sure that all of the pieces are connected.

“Because privileged access goes across platforms, we have to focus in on it in every environment,” Massey said. “We’re doing efforts on all different platforms to help sure that up.”

When an employee is hired, Summers and Massey’s team ensures that they are granted the proper access to the data center and to all of the different systems they need. In addition to that, the team also ensures employees don’t have access to what they should not. In the event that an employee leaves, the team then makes sure that their access is cut off as soon as possible — which further emphasizes how important it is that the team and the systems are all interoperable, Massey said.

The privileged access effort is not the team’s only focus on efficiency, Summers said. Thanks to the state’s migration to virtual servers last year, the department saved about $42,000 on their operating costs. Those savings earned the department a rebate check from the state’s Department of Energy, Summers said.

“It really showed us that we were able to make some great strides in moving that data and the servers into a virtual platform,” she said.