With cybersecurity threats now emerging as a household worry, state government has been opening eyes to the nagging problems stemming from attacks.

 

Multiple workshops throughout October have been devoted to alerting the public to the menacing ways of cyberattacks. Examples include cyberattacks taking down internet service for the U.S. mainland’s East Coast and becoming a scourge to various businesses across the nation.

 

Drawing statewide attention to these and other familiar threats has been a key focus of “Cyber Security Awareness Month,” which was proclaimed in early October by Gov. David Y. Ige.

 

Hour-long cyber safety sessions at public libraries and shopping centers have focused on a wide range of topics, including malware protection, passwords and wi-fi usage. Among other topics were online shopping, banking, scams, phishing, data backup and social media.

 

“Educating our community about cyber security issues and how to protect themselves in our technology-driven world is vital,” said State Librarian Stacey Aldrich. “The Hawaii Public Library System is happy to be a part of this important learning opportunity.”

 

Others that have been raising awareness about cyber safety throughout the month include the Hawaii Department of Defense Office of Homeland Security and local nonprofit Cyber Hui.

 

For cyber safety tips and other resources, visit the state Office of Homeland Security’s newly launched Cyber Awareness website (ohs.hawaii.gov/cyber).

Photo Credit: Viridian Weapon Technologies

 

A small police department in Minneapolis is adding an increasingly popular transparency tool to its ability to protect and serve the public.

 

The West Hennepin Public Safety Department, based in the Minneapolis suburb of Independence — a city with a population of about 3,500 — will soon be among the first in the country to test gun-mounted cameras on its 10 officers.

 

But don’t expect to see this high-tech solution in Hawaii any time soon. “The Honolulu Police Department has no plans to adopt gun-mounted cameras,” said Michelle Yu, spokesperson for the department.

 

In Minneapolis, the police department’s decision to experiment with body-worn cameras comes with the risks associated with being an early adopter as it expects to soon begin testing the cameras, which mount on firearm rails.

 

The gun-mounted cameras are advertised as lightweight — they’re about 3 ounces — and cheaper than body cameras. Their cost is projected to be about $500 per unit for five years of use by an officer, compared to an approximate $3,000 projection for a body camera within the same time period.

 

The technology is also being touted as a means of circumventing one of the biggest technical challenges surrounding body-worn cameras, which create data management issues by constantly racking up thousands of hours of footage that is subject to public data requests, and requires departments to procure specialized redaction software and data storage.

 

Another key benefit of gun-mounted cameras is that they’re not as likely to have their view blocked by an officer’s arms or other obstacles, though this and other functionality is expected to be proven out in the department’s testing. The department is expected to test a variety of scenarios, including low-light, no-light, bright light, and cold weather.

 

In a potentially significant step, the top executive at Transform Hawaii Government has a major new platform to get key messages across for her non-profit organization.

 

Christine Sakuda, who has been at the helm of Transform Hawaii Government since May, will be contributing periodic columns to the “Community Voices” section of the Honolulu Civil Beat.

 

Her columns will appear about five times a year and focus on ensuring that Hawaii officials are embracing the digital age with a renewed sense of urgency.

 

Hawaii is at least 20 years behind other states in its business process and information technology (IT) capabilities. Current systems were designed at a time when the personal computer was a new invention and have outlived their usefulness and life cycles.

 

Among the expected topics for the column will be to call on the state government for a commitment to consistently make the investment necessary for it to better engage citizens and businesses in this technology-driven world. That number comes out to at least 1 percent of the state’s annual budget over the next 10 years, which is about 2 percentage points below the investment other states typically make in their IT systems.

 

“Happy you guys want to contribute to Civil Beat,” said Editor Patti Epler. “I think it would be great to have Community Voices on this topic.”

 

The column will be the latest communications channel for Transform Hawaii Government. Others include Facebook, website and a newsletter.

 

The column will be written at a time when the state is taking steps to modernize its aging IT infrastructure. Examples include going paperless, consolidating nine different email systems for state employees and modernizing payroll and tax technologies in state government.

 

From Transform Hawaii Government’s perspective, all would be innovative solutions that could transform the way state government does business.

In the latest example of Hawaii’s efforts to embrace smart technologies, the state government is working with a leading customer relationship management (CRM) company to strengthen the overall experience of its online sites and services.

HawaiiAgriculture&FoodProductsDatabase.png

Among the first sites developed in-house by the state on the Salesforce platform was the Hawaii Agriculture & Food Products Database, unveiled by the state Department of Agriculture (DOA) during the Hawaii Agriculture Conference in August.

With the goal of improving its IT modernization efforts, the database provides more comprehensive access farmers and ranchers in Hawaii. It also aims to connect the world to the manufacturers that add value to Hawaii-grown products to create goods that showcase Hawaii agriculture.

“The Salesforce platform was selected after ETS evaluated several of the industry’s top CRM platforms,” said Todd Nacapuy, state chief information officer. “While this does not preclude departments and agencies from procuring alternatives, our intention is to focus development of state employee skillsets. In the interest of transparency, this also communicates to all IT service providers an area of opportunity, that the state will likely require services relating to the platform in the future.”

The site was developed collaboratively by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services. The site concept was primarily based on solutions identified at the 2016 Hawaii Annual Code Challenge.

Other smart technologies from last year’s code challenge are being developed for the CRM platform and scheduled for launch this year.

In addition, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services will be conducting an evaluation of existing sites and apps that could use an “upgrade” by relaunching them on the platform.  The evaluation is expected to be concluded by Dec. 1.

The CRM tool was approved by the IT Steering Committee, which assists the state CIO in developing IT standards and policies.

Give Michigan, Illinois and North Carolina credit for innovative high-tech solutions

At a time when the need for government to better engage citizens and businesses has grown more urgent in this technology-driven world, these three states are looking to define smart government in the digital age.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in August tapped David DeVries, a veteran of the federal government IT development, to serve as the state’s CIO. His duties will include directing Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

DeVries brings to his new post experience in modernize aging IT infrastructure and improving cybersecurity at the federal level.

In Illinois, the state government recently launched a 2017-2019 cybersecurity strategy considered both bold and forward-thinking. The state’s Chief Information Security Officer, Kirk Lonbom, described the effort as “establishing a culture of cyber-risk ownership with our business leaders.”

Lonbom said that a significant amount of time was spent meeting with state agency directors and other executives regarding the cyber threat and the potential impact on the state’s ability to deliver critical services to citizens. He said that they worked hard to ensure business leaders understood that cybersecurity is a business issue, and not an IT issue.

He added that for the state of Illinois, it is a life, health and safety issue. “Should certain systems fail,” he said, “there is a true risk of lives being affected,” adding that he’s proud to say that the state’s executives have a much clearer understanding, and Illinois continues to nurture these relationships.

In August, the third state, North Carolina, assembled a panel of experts from all levels of government to discuss approaches to move their respective organizations forward.

Called the North Carolina Digital Government Summit, the officials from state and local government hashed out the issues of working with vendors, defining “smart in the digital age and accurately measuring success.

After some debate, they concluded that smart government means different things to different organizations, adding that when it comes to helping innovation and new ideas thrive, the local and regional levels offered the most agility and flexibility. At the same time, smaller towns are well suited to carefully deploying solutions and measuring their success in a controlled environment, although they often face greater funding challenges than larger government organizations.

Advances in good government require smart thinking and crisp execution, but a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt.

1st Place Winners- LoveMilkTea

The 2017 Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) appeared to have had plenty of all three on Aug. 26 when it kicked off at the East-West Center’s Keoni Auditorium.

The month-long team competition saw hundreds of computer programmers, software developers, and tech-minded innovators rally to the state’s challenge to form teams and lend their collective creativity toward improving state government.

Organizers bet big that teams combining a mixture of tech-savvy students, amateurs and professionals would be up to the daunting task of building innovative solutions that could transform the way state government does business, with an eye toward a more efficient, accessible and transparent future.

“The Hawaii Annual Code Challenge is a great opportunity to bring citizens together with government to collaboratively come up with solutions that make Hawaii better,” said Burt Lum, executive director of Hawaii Open Data. “It was amazing what the teams came up with and talent that exists here, especially with our students. We hope to expand this event into more high schools to drive civic engagement and innovation throughout our state.”

A team of University of Hawaii students that called themselves “LoveMilkTea” took first place in the competition with a “wayfinding” mobile app for their campus at Manoa, which often can be difficult for new students and visitors to navigate. The team produced a handy wayfinding app to make it easier to locate buildings on the sprawling University of Hawaii campus.

Second place went to another team of UH students that called themselves “FidgetSpinners,” which presented a mobile-friendly, searchable Hawaii Revised Statutes app.  Coming in third was “The-Progress-Bars,” a community team that presented a dashboard showing where grant money from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is being allocated. The top high school team was called “No-Internet,” which featured Waipahu High School students who presented an app that would allow the Office of Elections to more conveniently schedule volunteers for training online instead of relying on phone calls.

In coordinating the event, the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services worked closely with the High Technology Development Corporation, the local nonprofit Hawaii Open Data, and various state agencies seeking innovative ways to improve government services.

New members begin their role in the State's IT Steering CommitteeChief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy swears in First Hawaiian Bank Vice President Michael Nishida and Transform Hawaii Government Executive Director Christine Sakuda as members of the IT Steering Committee.

 

Transform Hawaii Government would like to announce the appointment of Executive Director Christine Sakuda to the Office of Technology Services’ (ETS) IT Steering Committee.

The IT Steering Committee is a diverse third-party group, separate from ETS, established to advise the State of Hawaii’s Chief Information Officer (CIO). The committee provides critical insight and input related to systemwide technology improvements to state departments.

The working group holds CIO Todd Nacapuy accountable for progress toward accomplishing the objectives of Hawaii’s Information Technology Strategic Plan. This is achieved by routinely evaluating the CIO’s performance and eventually providing a grade for the CIO based on established criteria at the end of 2017 for ETS’ annual report to the Legislature.

“The committee and I are looking forward to having Christine on board to move technology initiatives forward for the benefit of current and future generations of Hawaii,” said Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy. “The Ige Administration is pursuing a strategy that focuses on people first, followed by process, then technology. Ms. Sakuda’s leadership positions in various nonprofits will be greatly beneficial in achieving this approach for future implementations.”

Membership to the IT Steering Committee is permitted via appointment. The Committee consists of representatives from large-user departments as well as industry executives selected by the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice.

Representative Scott Saiki appointed THG’s Executive Director. Sakuda began her role with the committee immediately after her installation ceremony on August 24.

See who are the other members of the State of Hawaii’s IT Steering Committee

State Capitol

Governor David Y. Ige is among 38 governors who recently signed a compact to bolster cybersecurity initiatives for their states during the National Governors Association’s (NGA) annual Summer Meeting.

The “Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity” is part of NGA’s cumulative effort called Meet the Threat, an initiative designed to make digital information security a high-level priority among states nationwide.

While rooted in technology, cybersecurity is a critical issue that transcends the boundaries of state IT departments. Hacked information in unlawful hands has the potential to compromise public safety, health and the livelihoods of residents.

Key recommendations from this agreement are expected to establish a framework that will arm states with adequate defenses in the event of a cyberattack. Core foundations covered in the compact include:

  • Creating a cybersecurity governance structure and strategy.
  • Preparing and defending the state from cybersecurity events with an emphasis on a whole-of-state approach as opposed to a departmental issue.
  • Growing the nation’s cybersecurity workforce through partnerships with educational institution.

Read the full compact here: Meet the Threat: A Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity

With growing staffing needs, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) faced a significant challenge in filling vacant IT positions within the state. With the rapid growth in the number of IT initiatives under the agency’s oversight, including responsibility for greater transparency, accountability, security, and resource efficiency, time was of the essence in finding qualified candidates to augment the team.

 

ETS departed from conventional methods – word of mouth and postings on a state-sponsored job site – and turned to social media to expand their options. Apparently, their instincts were good, based on the promising results.

 

During the pilot project, 42% of vacancies at ETS were filled in with the help of LinkedIn

 

From October 2016 to April 2017, ETS conducted a pilot project with the professional social network site LinkedIn. They established a goal of filling 10 vacant positions during that time frame and began taking advantage of the site’s technology.

 

LinkedIn’s data-driven tools leveraged information on its 133 million U.S.-based users, targeting profiles that met ETS job specifications. By recruiting through LinkedIn, ETS increased the visibility of their openings to appropriate profiles, both in Hawaii and nationwide.

 

While the professional social networking platform charges to utilize its recruitment tools, ETS reports that LinkedIn’s advertising services resulted in a significantly lower cost than hiring an employment consultant.

 

During the six-month pilot project, ETS succeeded in hiring and assigning start dates for 13 new employees, including Hawaii’s Chief Information Security Officer. This total surpassed its goal and amounted to filling an impressive 42% of vacancies at the time. In comparison, ETS hired only six employees – or 17% of vacancies – to fill its open positions during the same time period in the year prior.

 

With the success of this innovative and cost-saving approach to recruitment, there has been increased interest in using Linkedin among the state’s other departments. ETS recommends departments use the service for hard-to-fill positions if their budgets permit.

 

Want more information on ETS’ successful use of LinkedIn? Read the GovTech article: IT Applicants Increased Tenfold During Hawaii’s Pilot Partnership With LinkedIn

State of Hawaii bolsters its cybersecurity capabilities with additions to cyber security team.

Hawaii Continues to Bolster Its Cybersecurity Capabilities

Cybersecurity looms large in the news these days, and recently, news media have reported that personal information and Social Security numbers tied to as many as 4.8 million people using a multi-state job board system were compromised between February 20 and March 14 this year. Luckily, Hawaii was not one of the states affected.

Hawaii state government has moved to thwart attacks on state systems and protect citizens’ and government information from intruders. Last year, the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), requested and received funding for three new cybersecurity positions to provide security for all three branches of state government. In December, ETS filled the first of these positions, hiring the State of Hawaii’s first chief information security officer (CISO), Vincent Hoang.

Mr. Hoang is putting in place cybersecurity standards for executive branch departments and ensuring that state government system operations are following best practices in cybersecurity. He most recently served as the enterprise architect for Hawaiian Telcom, where he secured infrastructure for customers and conducted network architecture, performance, security risk, and systems infrastructure assessments.

Among other responsibilities, the remaining two cybersecurity support positions will be dedicated to identifying security issues in the state government network. The focus thus far has been on perimeter security. The next phase involves the installation of endpoint protection platforms, which provide anti-malware scanning along with many other security features.

 

Cybersecurity beyond the state system

But what about cybersecurity threats to other institutions and Hawaii residents outside of state government? Currently, a bill is moving through the legislature to address this concern, House Bill 598, which would enable the University of Hawaii to develop a Hawaii cyber ecosystem and related aspects of cybersecurity.

If the measure is enacted, UH would lead a collaborative effort between private sector companies, nonprofit organizations, government, and individuals to strengthen protections against cyber threats to critical energy, telecommunications, and water infrastructure systems, as well as financial, tourism, military, and other important public and private industries.