By Shannon Riess
Information is key whenever a disaster strikes. Lack of information could be detrimental to populations, neighborhoods and local economies. Many of the technological advances in the field of emergency management have been developed in order to solve the information problem and increase situational awareness. Data allows emergency managers to create a common operating picture that can help the state to predict and mitigate against the impacts of disasters, identify at-risk populations and respond to those areas in need, and recover from the effects of a disaster when a threat has passed. Information systems and emergency management specific software have led states to carry out their missions faster, better and more cost efficiently.

At any given moment, your data can be hacked and sold to the highest bidder. Very likely, sensitive data can be stolen and corrupted, possibly taking your entire organization to its knees. Neither of these outcomes is beneficial for your organization. In fact, the consequences can be devastating. It doesn’t take an information technology specialist to understand and be proactive in protecting your state’s cyber assets. In fact, assuring cybersecurity requires all members of an organization—including a state government—to protect themselves, their members and organization by asking a few simple questions and following procedures. What’s more, lawmakers share fiduciary responsibility to oversee the cybersecurity risks for a state.

By Doug Robinson

The state government information technology, or IT, landscape continues to evolve and respond to significant changes reflecting demands of citizens, evolving business models, emerging technologies and the faster paced, more complex environment faced by state chief information officers. Based on recent surveys and data from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, or NASCIO, state CIOs face several “forces of change” that require state IT leaders to adapt, evolve and respond to new demands and opportunities. 

The emergence of digital government and the power and potential of data have expanded dramatically in the last 10 years. Social media has become ubiquitous. Open data, which makes data sets available to all citizens, often through state websites, has become ever more commonplace since 2009. And the daily media attention to “Big Data” started around 2012. But although state governments are floating in a sea of data, the management and governance of this new kind of asset has tended to be weak, and sometimes close to nonexistent. The National Association of State Chief Information Officers’, or NASCIO’s, survey of CIOs in 2015 noted that technology directors are “wrestling with a host of challenges around data governance, legacy data, data access and sharing, and major new flows of data from new sources.”

CSG Midwest

To understand just how different the environment for daily fantasy sports operators and participants can be from one U.S. state to the next, the Midwest is a good place to start.

CSG Midwest

In recent years, state government has taken a more active role in helping provide citizens with greater access to reliable broadband Internet. By using funding or incentives to encourage providers to expand broadband into underserved areas, policymakers hope to address equity issues involving access, as well as the role that access plays in terms of improved education, economic development and even public safety....

Broadband has become the electricity of the 21st century. Everyone needs it. But a digital divide exists between urban and rural America. According to the Federal Communications Commission’s2015 Broadband Progress Report, more than half of rural Americans lack access to 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload speeds, the FCC’s new broadband benchmark for 2015. Comparatively, only 8 percent of urban Americans lack access to the same speeds.

The smartphone has become an American staple in recent years. Need to know the time? The once required wristwatch has been replaced by the smartphone. Drawing a sudden blank on someone’s name or new job post? A quick check of a social media app can save one from embarrassment at a moment’s notice. More importantly, wireless phones are proving to be a critical tool in expanding access to high-speed Internet service to Americans in rural communities. But the expanded reach of smartphones and other wireless devices into millions of hands across the country has met a significant challenge. The U.S. is facing a wireless spectrum shortage.

According to a new report from the Governing Institute, a majority of legislators understand that cyber threats are evolving and pose a risk to their state, but only 18 percent of respondents currently sit on a committee with cybersecurity as part of its mandate and 80 percent of respondents do not know if their state has a cyber-emergency incident plan in place.

A group of CSG members recently visited the headquarters of CSG Associate member Esri, an international Geographic Information System software company, in Redlands, Calif., to discuss how to use data and apps to make better policy decisions in their states. “More mayors lose their jobs over snowplowing than any other reason,” said Richard Leadbeater, public relations manager for Esri. Leadbeater flashed a map on a screen showing how data can be used to help make better decisions about snowplow deployment.