IT unification saves millions and enhances cybersecurity
State CIO comments on unification importance at House committee
OKLAHOMA CITY — State agencies are more
efficient and better protected when information technology is unified
under one umbrella, state Chief Information Officer Bo Reese told legislators
“There really are no bounds to
what we can do when we have unified agencies willing to collaborate,” Reese
told the House Government Modernization Committee.
mandated by HB 1304 in 2011, partners agencies with the Office of Management
and Enterprise Services to streamline and consolidate IT efforts. Reese
also responded to questions regarding legislative efforts this year to exempt
agencies from unification by saying such action would in the long run cost
Oklahoma money and risk the security of citizens’ data.
Governor Mary Fallin said she
agreed with Reese.
“Any legislation that unwinds
or puts at risk our state’s vital information to cybersecurity attacks would
set Oklahoma back,” she said.
During his presentation today, Reese
pointed to several recent projects completed by OMES Information Services, the
division he heads.
OMES has unified IT for 61 of
the 78 legislatively mandated agencies, as well as 31 voluntary
(nonappropriated) state agencies, at an estimated reduced spending and
projected savings of about $129 million. Efforts to unify the remaining agencies
should be finished by the end of the fiscal year, Reese said.
Specific projects he mentioned
included consolidating and moving 55 critical data systems housed in the
Department of Human Services. Previously, the systems took up 8,222 square feet
at DHS. Through virtualization, the space was reduced to seven racks and the
mainframe, occupying about 100 square feet at the OMES Information Services
Data Center. Not only was it a white-space footprint reduction of nearly 99
percent, but also freed up valuable space for DHS.
Reese further highlighted
efforts last year of OMES to partner with Oklahoma Park Rangers to install
tablets in their patrol vehicles so important data on missing persons, warrants
and criminal history backgrounds would be instantly available as opposed having
to shuffle through paperwork at a station.
Reese suggested legislators
could review his agency’s quarterly reports for more success stories at
Among the many unification
benefits Reese outlined is the increased ability to combat cyber threats that
didn’t exist before unification.
“Myself, having been in state
IT for 24 years, I know we were often separated in our silos, our separate
environments,” he said. “State data, and therefore the data of Oklahomans, is
better protected when agencies are unified.”
Nonunified agencies don’t have
the number of resources or expertise of CyberCommand. Reese said that last year
CyberCommand successfully responded to 32,000 cases of unique malware, knocked
down 750 instances of malicious activity and thwarted 400 occasions of
“Unification makes Oklahoma’s
technology more efficient, more accessible and stronger,” said Secretary of
Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger, who
is the director of OMES. “It’s important to all Oklahomans that unification
efforts continue and Oklahoma moves forward.”
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About the Office of Management and Enterprise Services
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services
provides financial, property, purchasing, human resources and
information technology services to all state agencies, and assists the
Governor’s Office on budgetary policy matters. Our mission: Supporting our partners through unified business services. For more information, visit OMES.OK.gov.