JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri- The Missouri Cybersecurity Task Force has issued its 2016 report with recommendations and action steps to continue improving cybersecurity throughout public and private sectors, Gov. Jay Nixon announced today. Among the recommendations include a call for continued investments in STEM education and workforce development, with cybersecurity professionals being in high demand across all industries.
“Protecting tax payers’ private information is an important responsibility of state and local governments, and our work to strengthen Missouri’s cybersecurity systems has been an investment worth making,” Gov. Nixon said. “Going forward, it is important that the state continue its investments in education and workforce development to ensure there are qualified men and women trained in this fast growing field. The latest programs and hardware can be purchased immediately when needed, but maintaining a skilled workforce requires a long-term vision and commitment across all levels of government.
“Over the past nine months we have had the opportunity to talk with organizations across the state, and although many are making great strides in their efforts to improve their cybersecurity postures, there is still work to be done,” Office of Administration Commissioner Doug Nelson said. “I am proud of the progress our team and the task force have made to further this cause and form a statewide cybersecurity network, and we greatly appreciate Gov. Nixon’s emphasis and attention on this critical issue.”
Gov. Nixon formed the Missouri Cybersecurity Task Force this past April to bolster the state’s ongoing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity. In August, Missouri launched a statewide cybersecurity ad campaign to raise public awareness of cybersecurity best practices and hosted the first-ever State of Missouri Cybersecurity Summit which brought together representatives of state and local governments, law enforcement, business, higher education, and K-12 institutions across the state to strengthen cybersecurity efforts by raising awareness and sharing best practices.
This year, Missouri was one of five elite states in the nation to receive an A grade from the Center for Digital Government in its 2016 Digital States Survey. In its report, the Center cited Missouri’s public safety and emergency management programs as the crown jewel of the state’s efforts.
This past May, Missouri was honored with the “Innovation of the Year” award from StateScoop, the leading government IT media company. The StateScoop 50 Awards celebrate outstanding achievements of the nation’s top state IT and tech industry leaders making a positive impact in government and public service.
In 2015, Missouri was honored with the “Overall Excellence in Cyber Security Award” at the FireEye Defense Summit in Washington, D.C. Missouri was chosen for being a model of cybersecurity awareness, infrastructure and practices.
Gov. Nixon’s administration has used technology to make state government more efficient, transparent and user-friendly by putting scores of state services online and revamping outdated computer systems. At the end of 2016, more than 800 state services are now available to taxpayers online.
Earlier this month, Missouri’s Office of Administration announced it was among 50 organizations being recognized with a prestigious 2017 CSO50 Award for thought leadership and creating outstanding business value with its cybersecurity data alert program.
The full State of Missouri Cybersecurity Task Force Action Plan is available online at cybersecurity.mo.gov.
Gov. Nixon has also made public education in Missouri a top priority of his administration, providing record funding for K-12 classrooms while raising standards and expectations. From 2009 to 2016, the Governor increased funding through the K-12 Foundation Formula by nearly $400 million. With record funding for elementary and secondary education during Gov. Nixon’s administration, learning standards became more rigorous and math and reading scores improved.
Additionally, this year also marks the fourth tuition freeze Gov. Nixon has secured since taking office in 2009. As a result, Missouri leads the nation in holding down tuition increases at public colleges and universities with just a nine percent increase since 2008-09. By comparison, the average increase nationally over the same period was 33.5 percent.