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Florida Looks Forward to Hiring its First Geographic Information Officer

Q&A: Chief Information Officer Eric Larson says the state's incoming GIS leader will have a coalition of the willing ready to follow.

By Colin Wood - August 29, 2017 8:00 AM

There are only a handful of states without a strong centralized office for geographic information services, and soon Florida will no longer be one of them.

After a recent legislative contest that could have ended the existence of the technology office itself, the Agency for State Technology not only continues on, but does so with dollars to fund new geographic information officer (GIO) and chief data officer (CDO) roles. The positions are intended to bring new rigor to an attempt first volleyed before AST was founded in 2012. There hasn't been a centralized GIS effort in the state since then, but a GIS workgroup under AST went a long way to convincing the legislature that it was finally time to formalize the role of spatial data in the state.

Eric Larson, Florida's chief information officer and executive director of AST, told StateScoop the state is prioritizing replacement of its chief information security officer — Danielle Alvarez left the state for the private sector in June — before hiring its first CDO and GIO within the next couple months, but that the hires represent new opportunities for the state.

Whether the new roles will be enough to bring stability to Florida's state technology office isn't yet clear — but Larson said he's hopeful.

(Keep Reading)

Florida Tests Cybersecurity Defenses with Hurricane Scenario

Attendance is up at an annual cybersecurity training exercise held by the Florida Agency for State Technology and the Florida National Guard.

by / August 21, 2017

The annual state-sponsored cybersecurity training for agency staffers by the Florida Agency for State Technology (AST) — which survived another defunding attempt this spring — has doubled in attendance in three years. The state has adopted a cybersecurity framework designed to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) specs.

In the latest training exercises, held from Aug. 14 through Aug. 17, AST in collaboration with the Florida National Guard (FNG) educated more than 40 staffers from 12 state agencies, up from around 20 trainees in 2015, the first year the exercise was held. Goals included testing incident response and internal communication procedures; and identifying best practices, and existing gaps and redundancies. Other participants included the Florida Fusion Center, a state-federal collaboration aimed at sharing resources to improve detection, identification and prevention of criminal and terrorist activity. (Keep Reading)

State Agencies Get Crash Course in Cyber Defense

Capitol News Service - August 16th, 2017 by Jake Stofan

The Agency for State Technology and the Florida National Guard are teaming up this week to put the cyber security of state agencies to the test. IT staff from multiple state agencies are undergoing training exercises using real life scenarios of cyber threats. While one team tries to break into a system, the other side tries to defend against it.

“To take systems with vulnerabilities and to have one side of the group exploiting them and the other side trying to mitigate it, eliminate the vulnerabilities and of course get the bad actors out of their system. So it is modeled after real world scenarios and we’re happy to be able to give them practice without it being real,” said Eric Larson, Executive Director of the Agency for State Technology.

The training continues through Wednesday.

Florida's Top Cyber Cop Says Threats Are Constant

WFSU By Aug 15, 2017

Eric Larson, Florida’s top cyber cop, says even hyper vigilance can’t completely protect the state’s critical data networks from a daily barrage of illegal probes.

But the executive director of the Agency for State Technology says frequent security drills, like one sponsored Tuesday by Florida National Guard, keep experts familiar with the latest threats.  

“There’s a constant cat-and-mouse game, so it’s not possible to ever get to a perfect state of security. As much as it is pro-active for these types of exercises to practice, it’s also reactive in terms of being able to identify and address issues.”

Larson said hackers are constantly threatening state computer networks that control everything from water supplies to payrolls and health systems. 

TFC News Brief

August 15, 2017

The Florida Agency for State Technology partnered with the National Guard to train agencies in a cyber security exercise.

Click here to watch video (at 8:44 mark)

Capitol Update Extended – Cybersecurity

June 1, 2017

State information technology officials work overtime to prevent a global cyberattack from infecting state and university networks.

Click here to watch video

StateScoop names top state IT, cybersecurity leaders with annual StateScoop 50 Awards

*** AST Chief Information Security Officer Danielle Alvarez was named State Cybersecurity Leader.***

The 2017 winners of the StateScoop 50 Awards, which highlight the best and brightest in the state IT community, were announced Sunday at a reception in Crystal City, Virginia, to help kick off the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' midyear conference.

For the fourth year, the StateScoop 50 awards honored state government information technology executives, leaders, industry influencers, up-and-comers and innovative projects. And for the first time, the awards honored cybersecurity leaders across state government.

The recipients of this year's awards were selected by members of the state and local government IT community in a nationwide voting process. More than 100,000 votes were cast on StateScoop, narrowing down more than 150 nominations across six categories to select 50 winners.

(Keep Reading)

Transparency Requires Government Data to Be Available and Accessible

IT has the opportunity to provide greater value in government.

Jason Allison is Florida CIO and executive director of the Florida Agency for State Technology.

Making government data available offers much value, to both citizens and an active democracy.

The digital age and the internet have ushered in many changes to our global culture, particularly when it comes to expectations for information access. Technology is readily available to aid in the ease and efficiency of data analysis, analytics and distribution, which citizens now expect.

Government transparency means financial and public information is readily understandable and readily found. It means taxpayers can see how public funds are used and hold their elected officials accountable.

(Keep Reading)

Florida shifts focus from IT strategic planning to project assurance

As the state adjusts its operational posture, the ultimate goal remains of making things as good as possible inside government and out.

By Colin Wood
December 20, 2016 5:21 PM

Florida is focused on making sure its projects are on track, Chief Planning Officer Tara Kyvik told StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference in September.

Last year it was IT strategic planning, but this year it's project assurance, she explained.

"It's kind of my life mantra is to always to do better," she said. "There's always opportunities to do that. We want to bring a little more of a lean approach into our project management standards, also bring in flavors of agile methodologies. So while right now our standards are compatible with agile methodologies, you won't see any of the agile vernacular in there. So we want to start moving the state more in that direction."

Innovation in Florida takes the form of streamlining processes, she said, a task that can take many forms.

"I never want to be seen as just a bureaucrat," Kyvik said. "I want to be seen as somebody who is always working to make things better, surrounded by a team of folks I think who share that commitment to make things as good for the agencies and for the state citizenry as possible. It can take a variety of shapes and forms. It can be as simple as tweaking a dial here and there to make things more efficient, or if it's to reinvent a process altogether."

Florida tech leader says success requires unity and collaboration

To succeed in trying times, everyone needs look in the same direction, says Eric Larson, chief operations officer at the Florida Agency for State Technology.

By Colin Wood
November 30, 2016 5:43 PM

Communication, collaboration, and commoditization are three favorite words of one of Florida's leading C-level executives.

In a video interview, Eric Larson, chief operations officer and chief technology officer at the Florida Agency for State Technology (AST) revealed the thought process behind development of the state's enterprise architecture and what it took to move a data center in just a few months.

Having a network that was generally prepared and ready for virtualization went a long way in helping the state meet its deadline and to succeed generally, Larson told StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' annual conference in September.

(Keep Reading)

Florida cyber chief: 'You cannot protect everything'

Risk assessments and expertise from the Florida National Guard’s cyber range direct state cyber policy into 2017 and beyond.

By Jake Williams
November 14, 2016 6:42 PM

Last year, the Florida legislature authorized the state’s Agency for State Technology to run cyber assessments on half its executive branch agencies. With those results in hand, state Chief Information Security Officer Danielle Alvarez said the state will develop future strategy focused on remediation.

“We’re making sure we have an accurate picture of our risk posture and security posture in the state,” Alvarez said. “We’re going to be working very heavily on that and aligning our future strategies on remediation.”

In 2016, the agency also partnered with the Florida National Guard to participate in their cyber range activity. The collaboration around the range enabled state employees to focus on training. The partnership will renew early 2017, Alvarez said, this time with an incident command system component that will enable the state to test emergency response efforts.

“We’re really excited about our ability to expand our training base and the capability of the training that occurs,” Alvarez said.

(Keep Reading)

How Florida moved its data center in 90 days

When 900 days became 90, Florida's IT office found their most powerful tools were collaboration and communication.

By Colin Wood
November 3, 2016 7:32 PM

Aside from serious life events like divorce, imprisonment, or death of a loved one, moving is among the most stressful things a person can experience. And when an unexpected event compresses the timeframe 10-fold, the task can even appear impossible. That's what happened to the Florida Agency for State Technology (AST) this year when the legislature informed the office they would no longer have the funding to stay in their old data center — what AST originally believed would be a two and a half year transition turned into a 90-day scramble.

The story has a happy ending. Florida Chief Information Officer Jason Allison reported the move was completed by the June 30 deadline, and under budget. It wasn't easy by any stretch, Allison said, but the exercise proved a testament to the capability of the state's IT leadership and collaborative relationships with customer agencies.

"It's kind of like moving an apartment," Allison said. "You have each individual and their stuff, their furniture, their nuances. And you have to have an intimate knowledge. It's not just picking up and the transporting of it. That can be logistically difficult as well, but it's all the interdependencies of the systems and making sure everything historically that may or may not be documented [is accounted for]."

Except it wasn't an apartment. It was data center in Northwood Centre, a facility in Tallahassee now being sued by hundreds of people for alleged environmental hazards including bat feces, leaking roofs, exposed sewage and mold.

(Keep Reading)

IT Modernization on the Agenda in Florida

According to CIO Jason Allison, now that operations are stabilized, he's focused on what's next in Florida's journey to digital government.

by / October 27, 2016

Florida's central IT agency was re-established in 2014, and Jason Allison now serves as its CIO. Recognition of the progress he's made came last month when the Center for Digital Government named Florida "Most Improved" in its biannual Digital States Survey that assesses the technology posture of all 50 states.

At last month's NASCIO annual conference in Orlando, Allison gave Government Technology a look at where the Florida Agency for State Technology is headed now.

(Keep Reading)

Innovation means finding efficiencies fast

Florida’s CIO talks transparency, analytics and defines what innovation means in his state.

By Jake Williams
October 24, 2016 10:36 PM

Warm beaches are not the only reason Florida is known as the Sunshine State.

Jason Allison, the chief information officer of Florida, told StateScoop last month that the state’s transparency efforts stand out as a national leader in making government more open. From a "right to know" portal to a budget site focused exclusively on transparency, Allison emphasized how the state’s Agency for State Technology bolsters Gov. Rick Scott’s commitment to transparency.

“The way we’re structured — the Agency for State Technology — we do a lot of the back office stuff,” Allison said. “Florida is very well known for transparency, for being the Sunshine State — everything’s open in the sunshine.”

(Keep Reading)

NASCIO announces winners of annual recognition awards

The awards ceremony highlighted twelve “exemplary” initiatives underway in states across the country in eleven categories.

By Jake Williams
September 22, 2016 5:00 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Association of State Chief Information Officers recognized eleven different states with 12 awards Monday at its annual conference.

“These awards are a recognition by peers,” NASCIO Awards Committee Co-Chair and Indiana CIO Dewand Neely said in a joint announcement. “Peers that recognize the difficulties and challenges posed to state government and peers that recognize the importance of innovative projects and best practices.”

The award recipients were selected by the association’s awards committee, and came from a field of more than 130 nominees that had been narrowed down to 37 finalists last month.

(Keep Reading)

NASCIO 2016: Build a Mature Process-Driven IT

September 20, 2016

An IT organization's accountability starts with people- and process-driven management. Florida Agency for State Technology's Curtis Unruh explains the twin pillars of IT accountability.


How Digital is Your State?

State of Florida Makes Unprecedented Technology Gains and Receives a B+ and “Most Improved"

Results of the 2016 Digital States Survey indicate that the effort states are putting into innovation, collaboration and aligning their investments with citizens' priorities has never been higher.

by , , , , , , , , / September 18, 2016

Just as a school teacher roots for his students, the Center for Digital Government is hopeful every two years that each respondent to its Digital States Survey will astound with reports of their technological feats. Though a competition of sorts, the Digital States Survey is more a showcase of state government's collective technology portfolio. And the outlook suggested by the 2016 survey is as strong as one would expect given the financial growth of the gov tech sector and the public's increasing interest in civic participation.

No states received a D or F, and just eight states landed in the C grade range. A growing number of states fill out the top of the curve compared to surveys past — 20 states earned a grade of B+ or higher, and a whopping 10 states earned an A or A-.

(Keep Reading)

Florida Buttons Up Major Data Center Move in a Mere 100 Days

More than 2,000 servers containing the critical applications for 12 agencies were moved to meet legislative orders and protect the IT infrastructure from worsening mold conditions.

by Eyragon Eidam
June 30, 2016

In the public sector, IT teams are often facing down looming projects and frequently discuss how nail-biting an 18-month timeline can look from the business end of the venture. So, imagine, if you will, condensing that 18 months’ worth of project, whatever it might be, down to a mere 120 days. 

It happened in Florida, where the move of a high-value data center that was originally slated for a 2019 move got a sharp legislative prod that started the hands of a stress-inducing doomsday clock.

A move was already on the minds of Florida Agency for State Technology (AST) officials due to the discovery of mold and other problems in the facility, but no one had imagined it would come down to such an air-tight time frame. 

(Keep Reading)

Florida CIO Jason Allison Talks Cybersecurity

Allison recently discussed how agencies manage and coordinate in the face of evolving threat vectors.

by / June 20, 2016

In mid-May during Government Technology's Florida Digital Government Summit held in Tallahassee, state CIO Jason Allison discussed the state’s collective approach to cybersecurity, and how agencies manage and coordinate in the face of evolving threat vectors.

(Keep Reading)

Contractors Urge State Govies to Use Federal Standards for IT

Following standards like FedRAMP and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework will help state governments avoid "reinventing the wheel," says a government IT contractors' trade association.

By Kayla Nick-Kearney

June 20, 2016

A trade group representing government IT contractors is urging state governments to adopt federal cybersecurity benchmarks, to encourage standardization and avoid duplicating painstaking work that's already been done developing norms and best practices.

In a blog posting and policy paper, the IT Alliance for Public Sector, a division of the Information Technology Industry Council, warns states against "reinventing the wheel," through "a siloed, inconsistent and disconnected state-by-state approach" to cybersecurity standards for government IT. 

(Keep Reading)

Cybersecurity Goes Beyond Securing
the Perimeter, State Experts Say

By Jake Williams
May 31, 2016

In the fifth episode of StateScoop Radio’s “Priorities” series, state tech execs say security must be integrated into every aspect of the network.

***AST Chief Information Security Officer Danielle Alvarez participates during this month’s podcast.***

(Keep Reading)

4 Issues Government Should Consider
Before Chasing the Cloud

By Eyragon Eidam
May 20, 2016

How well do you know the cloud?  What are the roles and responsibilities of the companies that provide cloud services? What part does the state or local government IT organization play when it comes to cloud technology?

These questions and others were at the center of a panel discussion at the Florida Digital Government Summit held May 12 in Tallahassee. During the 90-minute session, Florida’s Chief Technology Officer Eric Larson and two private-sector representatives weighed in on the four most important considerations and steps that need to be made before diving headlong into cloud migration. From unexpected costs to unplanned exit strategies, government and industry experts discussed the major concerns impacting a move to the cloud at the Florida Digital Government Summit.

(Keep Reading)

statescoopStateScoop Announces 2016 Winners
of StateScoop 50 Leadership, Program Awards

StateScoop's readers cast more than 80,000 votes to select 50 outstanding leaders and programs from hundreds of nominations.

***AST CIO Jason Allison was the recipient of the Golden Gov: Executive of the Year***

By StateScoop Staff
May 4, 2016 8:00 PM

BALTIMORE — The 2016 winners of the StateScoop 50 Awards, which highlight the best and brightest in the state IT community, were announced Wednesday.

The StateScoop 50 awards honor innovators, innovative initiatives and up-and-coming leaders in state and local government.

This year’s recipients were selected by members of the state and local government IT community, in a nationwide voting process. More than 80,000 voters were cast on StateScoop, narrowing down hundreds of readers’ nominations in six categories, to select this year’s StateScoop 50 winners.

“My team and I were delighted by the tremendous number of nominations and votes we received from our readers,” Goldy Kamali, CEO of Scoop News Group — StateScoop’s parent company, said. “We are thrilled to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments and innovations of the top 50 state IT leaders from government and tech who are making meaningful contributions to their organizations and communities.”

The winners were honored with a reception at the Hyatt Regency here during the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference.

(Keep Reading)

GT logo

Conversation with a CIO:
Florida's Jason Allison Discusses Building on the Past and Moving the State Forward

Allison has set his sights on building lasting relationships with state agencies and meeting the tight deadlines posed by key infrastructure initiatives.

By Eyragon Eidam
April 25, 2016

In this series, Government Technology is looking for insights from IT decision-makers on the opportunities and issues facing their respective jurisdictions. Each week, our staff aims to catch up with a state or local government CIO to discuss trending topics, particular pain points and initiatives geared to improve public-sector IT.

This week, we talked with Jason Allison, CIO of the Florida Agency for State Technology (AST). He was appointed in December 2014 by Gov. Rick Scott to the lead the state’s third iteration of its technology agency. Since taking the helm, Allison has set his sights on building lasting relationships with other state agencies and meeting the tight deadlines posed by key infrastructure initiatives.

(Keep Reading)

statescoopMeet the StateScoop 50 GoldenGov Nominees: Florida CIO Jason Allison

In this Q&A, StateScoop introduces StateScoop 50 GoldenGov nominee Jason Allison, the chief information officer for the state of Florida.

By Jake Williams
March 25, 2016 4:00 PM

Florida CIO Jason Allison is trying to bring the "new agency on the block" into the future of state government information technology.

In his role, Allison leads the two-year-old Agency for State Technology, which coordinates information technology efforts across the state. Before AST, Florida went through several CIOs and several IT agencies — all of which were eventually disbanded by the Legislature.

Allison hopes this time will be different. He's spent nearly two years assembling a team to bring a new, team-oriented perspective to running a state IT agency. 

(Keep Reading)

statescoopFlorida governor signs cybersecurity secrecy bill into law

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill exempting from public disclosure information about network security breaches in Florida.

By Alex Koma
March 25, 2016 4:00 PM

A Florida bill shielding state cybersecurity information from public disclosure is now the law of the land.

Gov. Rick Scott signed S.B. 624 Friday, following months of negotiation. The legislation, which was sponsored by state Sen. Alan Hays, creates a new exemption in the state’s public records law to let agencies withhold information about network breaches and security audits.

Florida’s Agency for State Technology worked with Hays to craft the bill and introduce it in October, and it passed the Legislature earlier this month.

(Keep Reading)

statescoop After Months of Negotiation, Florida Cybersecurity Secrecy Bill Heads to Governor

State Sen. Alan Hays' effort to exempt information about network breaches from public disclosure now awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature.

By Alex Koma

March 17, 2016 2:00 PM

GovRickScottA bill to let Florida’s state agencies keep information about network security breaches and cyberattacks confidential is now headed to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk, following months of negotiations among IT leaders, lawmakers and open government advocates.

When state Sen. Alan Hays introduced the legislation — which would create an exemption in Florida’s public records law to shield any information about breaches and reviews of the state’s cybersecurity systems from public disclosure — in October, it immediately prompted pushback.

(Keep Reading)

GT logo

Florida Senate Confirms CIO Jason Allison

February 3, 2016

Allison will continue to lead the state’s effort to mature its recently reinstated tech agency and overcome what he called the state’s “sins of the past.”

The Florida Senate confirmed the reappointment of Jason Allison as executive director of the state’s Agency For State Technology (AST) on Jan. 28.

Allison will continue to lead the state’s effort to mature its recently reinstated tech agency and overcome what Allison called the state’s “sins of the past.” Last year, Allison helped form a new IT strategic plan, which includes a shift to cloud infrastructure and applications and a more responsive approach to procurement.

(Keep Reading)

The Florida Channel logo

TFC News Brief – 1/27/16 (Beginning at minute 25:13)

AST Partners with the Florida National Guard to Host Cybersecurity Training

January 29, 2016

Statescoop logoFlorida CIO Confirmed by State Senate

By Jake Williams · Thursday, January 28, 2016 · 5:10 pm

The Florida Senate confirmed Chief Information Officer Jason Allison Thursday, after he spent more than a year and a half in the Jason Allison, State CIOposition in an unofficial capacity.

The state’s first official chief information officer in five years, Allison will continue to serve as executive director for the nearly 2-year-old Agency for State Technology as part of his post. There, Allison leads 241 full-time employees and directly oversees $73 million of IT spending in state government. The mission of the agency is to “maximize resources, saving taxpayer dollars and delivering more efficient and effective constituent services in the Sunshine state,” according to a release from the agency.

While awaiting confirmation in October, Allison told StateScoop that the state was preparing a push for open data — one that involved working with the Legislature to hire a chief data officer and a team of data scientists to take a leadership role to help use data to aid the executive branch and other state agencies.

When the Agency for State Technology officially kicked off operations in July 2014, Gov. Rick Scott named Allison interim CIO and officially nominated him for the job later that year. Prior to AST’s launch, Florida went three years without a CIO after the predecessor state Agency for Enterprise Technology shuttered in 2011.

Before coming to AST, Allison was the information technology policy coordinator in the state Office of Policy and Budget. Allison also served as the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s CIO.

The Florida Channel logo

The Florida Channel - Florida Face to Face
with Beth Switzer

December 10, 2015

The Florida Channel logo

The Florida Channel News Brief

December 7, 2015

Holiday Shopping (Beginning at minute 04:21)

This story features AST’s Danielle Alvarez and advice to consumers on how to prevent your “wearable” devices from being compromised.

Statescoop logoFlorida Builds New Cybersecurity Framework

By · Friday, December 04, 2015 · 10:23 am

Since the re-launch of Florida’s IT agency last year, Chief Information Security Officer Danielle Alvarez has been working to build up a cybersecurity framework for the state.

Alvarez said the biggest threat currently facing the state is “lacking that foundation” for how to effectively handle information security, and she’s now in the midst of laying down those guidelines.

“We are actually taking the prior rule in adoption and updating it, mapping it to the [National Institute of Standards and Technology] cybersecurity framework,” Alvarez told StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in October. “Basically you look at the framework as a skeleton and so we establish the skeleton, ‘These are the things you need to think about and things you need to consider.’”

Once that work’s completed, Alvarez said there’s plenty left for the state to do when it comes to filling in any gaps left in the framework, and putting a focus on education for state workers.

“We’re going to work on populating and filling in the framework, that would be the actual process and practice guidance documents, and then training and artifacts to help all the state agencies actually go forth and implement the framework,” Alvarez said.

The Florida Channel logo

The Florida Channel News Brief

November 30, 2015

AST is highlighted during the "Cyber Monday" segment beginning at 09:00.

GT logoFlorida Governor Recommends
$4.3 Million IT Budget Increase

After some years of uncertainty, Florida has a CIO and a CISO, and it may soon have the funding needed to rebuild the state's IT.

by / November 23, 2015

The economic downturn and bureaucratic shuffling were hard on Florida IT, but state officials are piecing together a comeback.

On Nov. 23, Gov. Rick Scott released his recommendations for the state's 2016-2017 budget, which include a $4.3 million increase in IT funding. Florida's technology relaunched in 2014 under the name of the Agency for State Technology (AST) and is now led by CIO Jason Allison. The additional funding will give AST a chance to fix agency soft spots, tighten cybersecurity efforts, address growth and standardize business processes.

The state Legislature will consider the governor's proposal of allocating $594,000 for IT supporting agency growth, $992,000 for cybersecurity, and $773,000 to fix broken or ineffective systems and standardize business processes.

Growth includes requests from state agencies that need additional storage or system upgrades, explained Kristina Wiggins, AST chief of staff.

"That's something that, as populations continue to grow, is not going to slow down anytime soon," she said.

(Keep Reading)

statescoop logo

Florida Performs Inventory Ahead of Open Data Push

By Alex Koma · Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Florida’s expansive open records laws have IT leaders preparing a new push to open up the state’s data.

Jason Allison, the state’s chief information officer, said staff at his Agency for State Technology are taking steps to start the “inventory process” of cataloging all of Florida’s data, as they attempt to meet the standard laid out by the law that “all information is public information.”

“We’re working real diligently to understand what we have, what the authoritative source of that information is, and make it available to the public,” Allison told StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in October. “We’re working with the agencies to start to build out that framework.”

(Continue Reading)


For Media/Press Inquiries:
Erin Choy
External Affairs Manager Agency for State Technology (850) 412-6041

Interview with Florida’s Technology and Security Leadership

By Dan Lohrmann – November 7, 2015

Where is Florida heading regarding cybersecurity in government? What are the top priorities and hot projects? Hear what the Florida state CIO and CISO have to say in this exclusive interview.

Mr. Jason Allison, Florida's CIO, with Ms. Danielle Alvarez, Florida's CISO. credit Florida Agency for State Technology

Over the past 18 months, we’ve held interviews with influential government technology and security leaders from across the United States. Previously we’ve focused on Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) leaders from North Carolina, Ohio, Washington State, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, as well as several other important states.

And now, I am excited to be able to bring you an exclusive interview from the Sunshine State of Florida.

At the end of 2014, Florida Gov. Rick Scott officially named Mr. Jason Allison as the state’s chief information officer and executive director of the Agency for State Technology.

(Continue Reading)

Summit Aims to Prepare Departments for Future Cyberattacks

FL Nat Guard Cybersecurity VehicleFlorida Department of Education fell victim to attack earlier this year

Author: Matt Galka, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Oct 28 2015 05:37:10 PM EDT


Every Florida resident has some piece of information about themselves on a state computer, and that makes government computers targets for hackers, but the state isn't sitting idly by.

The Florida Department of Education fell victim to a high-profile cyber attack earlier this year. It came during statewide school testing.

"We are trying to identify the perpetrators of that attack," FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in March.

The incident raised questions about state government Internet security. The Agency for State Technology is holding a tech summit this week to better prepare departments for future attacks. (Keep Reading)

The Florida Channel LogoJason Allison Interview on The Florida Channel (segment beginning at 11:06)

October 28, 2015

Florida CIO Jason M. Allison discusses the Cybersecurity Summit happening in Tallahassee this week.

October 28, 2015

From Capitol News Service: Getting Hacked

Video interviews with Jason Allison and Danielle Alvarez of the AST, regarding the Florida Cyber Summit.

The Rotunda Logo
October 23, 2015

AST's Jason Allison is featured on this week's episode of The Rotunda, a podcast focusing on the people and issues shaping Florida. Listen to Jason beginning at 15:00 to hear about AST's priorities and the importance of cybersecurity.

NASCIO scholarship bannerNASCIO's Thomas M. Jarrett Scholarship Recipients Announced

October 14, 2015

The Thomas M. Jarrett State Conference Scholarship Program grants Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) the opportunity to attend a NASCIO Annual Conference. This scholarship program pays homage to Thomas M. Jarrett, past president of NASCIO (2004 - 2005) with a passion for cybersecurity.

Recipients of the 2015 scholarships will be recognized during the NASCIO Annual Conference at an awards ceremony.  Nominations for the 2016 scholarships will open in May 2016.

AST's CISO, Danielle Alvarez, was among this year's recipients.

GovTech Magazine logo

Data Is a Big Deal for NASCIO Day One

October 12, 2015

Officials convene in Salt Lake City to share best practices in innovation, smart technology, cybersecurity and data analytics.

Florida's CIO, Jason Allison, speaks at the NASCIO conference in Salt Lake City, UT.

GovTech logoJason Allison

Relaunching Florida’s State Technology Office

CIO Jason Allison talks about restoring credibility and adding value through enterprise IT.

by / August 18, 2015

Over a 12-year career with the state of Florida, Jason Allison has worked on technology from almost every angle. Now, as state CIO, he has a strong resume for returning needed stability to Florida enterprise IT.

Allison has held positions ranging from technical to policy management. He began his career manning the help desk. He served as a departmental CIO. And just prior to being named Florida’s top technology official in December, he served as the governor’s IT policy coordinator — where he not only had a hand in designing his new agency, but also got a real-world education on the budgetary process and the politics that go with it.

Allison will need every bit of that experience and insight as he works to restore credibility to a state technology office that’s been built and torn down repeatedly over the past decade. The current Agency for State Technology (AST), created by lawmakers last year, marks the third incarnation of a state technology office in Florida since 2005.

(Keep Reading)

Executive Office of the Governor Rick Scott

July 9, 2015

(850) 717-9282

Governor Rick Scott Appoints Three to Technology Advisory Council

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced three appointments to the Technology Advisory Council.

Peter Butler, 51, of Tallahassee, is the director of the technology sector for National Strategies LLC. He is appointed for a term beginning July 9, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016.

Kenneth Fountain, 46, of Pensacola, is an attorney and senior partner of Fountain Schultz & Associates. He is appointed for a term beginning July 9, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016.

Allen Ginder, 48, of Jacksonville, is the public sector director of Florida for Avaya. He is appointed for a term beginning July 9, 2015, and ending June 30, 2018.


StateScoop logoAST's Jason M. Allison (Executive Director and State CIO) wins "State Up & Comer 2015" Award

April 27, 2015

AST's Jason M. Allison (Executive Director and State CIO) wins "State Up & Comer 2015" in StateScoop's 2015 50 Awards, which honors the best and brightest who make state and local government more efficient and effective.

(Keep reading)

Electric Grid Vulnerable to Cyber Attack, Experts Warn

Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat, 6:43 a.m. EDT April 14, 2015

Rep. Vasilinda

An enemy could kill millions by knocking out America's power grid with a nuclear bomb exploded in space, three national security experts told Florida legislators Monday.

It could even happen naturally, with a massive solar flare – as it did in 1859 – but back then, the only technology affected was the telegraph key. Today, everything, from washing machines to home computers and a giant generating plants, depends on microchips computer systems that could be rendered useless for years by an electro-magnetic pulse. (Keep reading)


State of the State Reception

State of the State Reception

Tallahassee, FL
March 2, 2015

AST's Kristina Wiggins (Chief of Staff and Legislative Affairs Director) and Danielle Alvarez (Chief Information Security Officer) were fortunate to have their picture taken with Governor Rick Scott during the 2015 State of the State Reception.


Jason AllisonFlorida Makes Interim CIO Jason Allison Permanent

Florida's interim CIO Jason Allison impressed enough people to turn the job into something more permanent.

by / December 15, 2014

Florida Interim CIO Jason Allison became the state’s permanent CIO on Dec. 9, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced. Allison, who was named to the interim position in July, has in recent months received kudos for his achievements around managing the state’s Agency for State Technology (AST), recruitment of support personnel, and headway in development of a state technology plan.

"I am confident Jason will do a great job managing and overseeing the state’s technology projects,” Scott stated in a press release.
(Keep reading.)


December 9, 2014

(850) 717-9282

Governor Scott To Visit Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology To Highlight $20 Million In Tech Center Funding In “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” Budget

NAPLES, Fla. — Tomorrow, January 9, Governor Scott will visit the Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology to highlight his proposed $20 million in tech center funding as part of his “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget.

WHAT: Press Conference

WHEN: 2:00 PM

WHERE: Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology
                 3702 Estey Avenue
                 Naples, FL

Governor Rick Scott: Florida Overtakes New York as 3rd Most Populous State

December 23, 2014, in News Releases, by Governor's Press Office

Today, Governor Rick Scott released the following statement regarding Florida officially becoming the third most populous state in the nation.

Governor Scott said, “Today’s news of Florida officially becoming the third most populous state is exciting. As the holiday season approaches, we have learned in the last week that Florida businesses have added over 715,000 private-sector jobs in less than four years, far surpassing our goal to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. Our unemployment rate of 5.8 percent is also the lowest since 2008, and now we are overtaking New York as the third most populous state. Florida is on the way to become the number one destination for jobs and we continue to be the best place to live, work and raise a family. I look forward to more people and more job creators moving to Florida in the near future.”

December 9, 2014

(850) 717-9282

Governor Rick Scott Announces the Appointment of Jason Allison as Chief Information Officer and Executive Director for the Agency for State Technology

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Jason Allison as the Chief Information Officer and executive director for the Agency for State Technology, after serving as interim since July 2014. Governor Rick Scott signed legislation to establish the Agency for State Technology in July 2014.

Governor Scott said, “I am confident Jason will do a great job managing and overseeing the state’s technology projects.”

Director Jason Allison said, “I am humbled and eager to serve Governor Scott and the state of Florida in leading the groundwork for the Agency for State Technology. I plan to use the state’s technology resources in the most efficient and effective manner while serving in this capacity.”

Allison served as the Information Technology Policy Coordinator in the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget from 2012 until July 2014. From 2011-2012, he was the Chief Information Officer for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Allison was the Senior IT Business Consultant at the Agency for Enterprise Information Technology from 2008-2011, and the MIS Director for the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Disease Control from 2002-2008. Allison received his bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Florida State University.


Jason AllisonFlorida Names Jason Allison as Interim State CIO

By statescoop

By David Stegon · Monday, July 28, 2014 · 2:48 pm

Florida has named Jason Allison as its interim chief information officer and the executive director of the new Agency for State Technology, sources confirmed to StateScoop.

Allison has a long history with Florida’s state government, most recently serving as the information technology policy coordinator for Gov. Rick Scott within the state’s Office of Policy and Budget. (Keep reading)


Governing Magazine Governing Magazine photo Florida to Create an Agency for State Technology. Will It Work?

by | May 19, 2014

By Matt Williams
After a two-year hiatus, there’s momentum among Florida’s elected leaders to bring back the state’s technology agency and rehire a CIO. The move is predictable. Since 2005, the state has pulled the plug twice on the office — and this would be the second time it’s revived.

But government departments are not interchangeable widgets. The stops and starts have left Florida with a patchwork of technology that some say isn’t what it should be. Others fear that Florida is falling behind as other states push forward with large-scale enterprise projects that utilize cloud computing and other scalable technology. (Keep reading)





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