The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) awarded top honors Wednesday to two members of the Texas Department of Information Resources’ (DIR) leadership team during the association’s annual conference.
Texas Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Nancy Rainosek received the 2021 Thomas M. Jarrett State Cybersecurity Leadership Award, which honors state CISOs for exceptional accomplishments in their field. DIR’s Chief Operations Officer Dale Richardson received one of three 2021 NASCIO State Technology Innovator Awards, recognizing outstanding state government employees who contributed to advancing state technology policy through the promotion of best practices, adoption of new technologies, and advancements in service delivery.
NANCY RAINOSEK - 2021 Thomas M. Jarrett State Cybersecurity Leadership Award NASCIO Press Release:
“Nancy was nominated by Texas Chief Information Officer and DIR’s Executive Director Amanda Crawford who wrote, “Nancy brought a fresh vision and approach to the statewide CISO Role in Texas. Through her leadership, Texas state agencies, institutions of higher education and local government entities are more focused on cybersecurity and are better prepared to address cyber threats.”
Nancy’s award submission also highlighted her role in the ransomware attack on Texas municipalities in 2019—what would later be known as the largest coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in the United States at the time. Through a statewide cyber incident response plan, all affected local government entities were back up and running in five days – an unprecedented feat for the size of the attack.
NASCIO President and Commissioner and CIO for the State of New Hampshire Denis Goulet said, “The Texas cyber event in 2019 was the first of its kind and changed the game for state and local entities. Texas’ efforts, led by Nancy Rainosek, set the standard for how states can and will respond in the future.”
In addition to coordinating the response to the 2019 attack, Nancy has also implemented multi-factor authentication for state agencies, cybersecurity awareness training, phishing simulations, secure developer coding training, managed security services, elections security assessments for Texas counties, and is in the planning phase of implementing endpoint detection and response for state agency endpoints. Nancy has also partnered with Texas high schools and the Texas Parent Teachers Association to get the next generation of cybersecurity professionals started. Finally, Nancy has also established the Texas Information Sharing and Analysis Organization which is a partnership between DIR and several Texas universities to share threat intelligence information and education with all Texas critical infrastructure organizations. “
This is the ninth year for the award, which was created to pay homage to Thomas M. Jarrett, past president of NASCIO (2004 – 2005), for his passion for cybersecurity.
DALE RICHARDSON - 2021 NASCIO State Technology Innovator Award NASCIO Press Release:
The NASCIO State Technology Innovator Award Nominations were gathered from NASCIO members and selected by the NASCIO Executive Committee.
“Dale Richardson helped guide the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) response efforts through the COVID-19 pandemic and the Texas winter storm of 2021. Under Dale’s operational leadership, DIR ensured continuity of operations for Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education. When Texas organizations needed information technology services the most, Dale and his team managed the state’s data centers and statewide network without disruption. With preemptive preparation and planning, Dale’s team implemented a variety of expanded technology solutions and provided guidance for agency technology implementation in response to COVID-19. Additionally, Dale has implemented the Texas Data Center Services model to provide technology services and solutions to state agencies and local governments including private and public cloud services, mainframe services and security operations services. In December 2020, DIR customers rated the services model with 100 percent customer satisfaction.”