Corrections test latest ADC success

A computer system used by the Kentucky Department of Corrections to keep track of state inmates can now be fully restored within a matter of hours instead of days, thanks to the state’s new alternate data center.

Commonwealth Office of Technology employees restored the Kentucky Offender Management System (KOMS) at the new ADC in about four hours during a test exercise on Oct. 22, according to Terry Stephens, executive director of the Office of Infrastructure Services at Commonwealth Office of Technology. The recovery time is a significant improvement over the amount of time it normally took to manually restore the system in exercises prior to the Alternate Data Center (ADC) deployment, he said.

“This is an important step for us because after years of focusing on disaster recovery we can now focus on business continuity, added security and a peace of mind that in the event of an unforeseen event or disaster state government can continue to function,” Stephens said.

The Commonwealth Data Center in Frankfort hosts hundreds of important, mission-critical applications like Medicaid, vehicle licensing, unemployment insurance, and other public assistance programs, Stephens said.

Prior to the ADC deployment, COT employees could successfully recover the systems, but the conditions for providing services to citizens were never optimal, Stephens said. That’s because network availability significantly reduced the number of transactions that could be processed.

All that changed in September 2012 when Gov. Steve Beshear announced the new ADC as part of a package of new IT initiatives.

Since that time, numerous backup systems have already been deployed at the center, including the state’s e-mail and phone systems, the enterprise class Windows and Unix systems, and a virtual tape system supporting the replication of mainframe tapes. 

“These deployments will all allow us to establish higher levels of service and availability for the agencies we serve,” Stephens said. “This added security, as well as the ability to provide enhanced services through emergency situations allows for peace of mind to COT’s customer agencies and to the citizens of Kentucky,” Stephens said.

Michael Parsons, who serves as COT’s alternate data center project manager, said five of the agency’s teams - Active Directory, Desktop Support, UNIX, Storage, and VMware – participated in the Oct. 22 exercise.  He said the same teams will be working together again later this month to restore Windows- and Linux-based virtual machines that are supported by the state’s Business Continuity and Resiliency Services (BCRS) contract.
State agencies interested in learning more about business continuity for their applications can contact their Business Relationship Manager or the Commonwealth Service Desk at (502) 564-7576.

Seminars to focus on IT security

Commonwealth Office of Technology will host eight information technology security seminars in October featuring presentations from leading public- and- private-sector officials.


The agency hosts a series of IT security seminars each October in Frankfort to coincide with Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a national campaign led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC).


Renault Ross, a security and privacy architect at Symantec Corporation, will kick off the series at 10 a.m. Oct. 4 at COT’s Cold Harbor training room.  He is expected to discuss threats to online security, including cyber- and industrial-espionage, increasing threats to social media and mobile devices, and the use of widespread, sophisticated malware and phishing threats that have evolved considerably in recent years.


Other events follow throughout the month of October at COT’s Cold Harbor facility and at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, located at 200 Mero St. in Frankfort.  All events are free and open to state employees, although reservations are advised due to limited seating.  


“We live in an age when so many of the services we depend on are provided electronically and more of the world’s information is housed in electronic format,” Chief Information Officer James M. Fowler said.

“The seminars to be held throughout October offer us the opportunity to learn more about how we can individually and collectively help keep the Commonwealth’s data safe and secure, and I urge you to participate in this important and valuable forum.”


In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of IT security throughout the Commonwealth, Gov. Steve Beshear signed a proclamation Sept. 20 designating the month of October as Cyber Security Awareness Month.


Additional information, including a detailed description of all scheduled events and reservation instructions, can be found on COT’s website.  State employees should receive approval from managers to attend.


Seminar dates and times

Symantec 2013 Threat Report

Renault Ross, US Security and Privacy Architect, Symantec Corporation

Estimated seminar length:  1 hour

Time:  10 a.m.

Date:  Oct. 4

Place:  COT training room, 101 Cold Harbor Drive, Frankfort, Ky.


New Trends in Electronic Crimes

Bill Baker, Investigations Officer, Kentucky Office of the Attorney General

Estimated seminar length:  1 hour

Time:  9 a.m.

Date:  Oct. 10
Place:  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, room C118, 200 Mero St., Frankfort, Ky.


Online Dangers

Detective Cassandra Mullins and Trooper Jack Morgan, Kentucky State Police

Estimated seminar length:  1 hour.

Time:  2 p.m.
Date:  Oct. 10
Place:  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, room C118, 200 Mero St., Frankfort, Ky.


Fusion Center and the Cyber Threat

Amy DeGarmo and Jonathan Heaton, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security

Estimated seminar length:  1 hour

Time:  9 a.m.

Date:  Oct. 24

Place:  COT training room, 101 Cold Harbor Drive, Frankfort, Ky.


Importance of Security Awareness and Training

John Ecken, Tandem

Estimated seminar length:  1 hour

Time:  9 a.m.

Date:  Oct. 29

Place:  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, room C118, 200 Mero St., Frankfort, Ky.


Risky Business - Ignoring NIST

Conrad Reynolds, Commonwealth Office of Technology Risk and Compliance Team

Estimated seminar length:  1 hour

Time:  10 a.m.

Date:  Oct. 29

Place:  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, room C118, 200 Mero St., Frankfort, Ky.


Using Encryption to Protect Privacy

Brent Crossland, Entrust

Estimated seminar length:  1 hour
Time:  1 p.m.

Date:  Oct. 29

Place:  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, room C118, 200 Mero St., Frankfort, Ky.


The Identity Theft Plague: No One is Immune

Lori Farris and Kevin Winstead, Kentucky Office of the Attorney General

Estimated seminar length:  1.5 hours

Time:  2 p.m.

Date:  Oct. 29
Place:  Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Building, room C118, 200 Mero St., Frankfort, Ky.

New CIO arriving June 1

Signaling the beginning of a new era in technology leadership and management within the state’s executive branch, Chief Information Officer James M. Fowler will begin work at Commonwealth Office of Technology June 1.
Fowler, former deputy commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications for the City of New York, was appointed to the post in April by Gov. Steve Beshear.
“Jim has the experience, leadership and professional expertise that will be of tremendous value for leading Kentucky’s information technology efforts and employees,” Gov. Beshear said in a statement announcing the appointment April 30. “His background in both the private and public sectors was a major factor in our decision to bring him to Kentucky.”
Fowler will manage COT’s business operations and oversee more than 650 employees. His arrival in Frankfort comes during a time in which the agency is undertaking the most comprehensive executive branch IT infrastructure consolidation effort in history, opening a new alternate data center and implementing new managed print services.
The organizational changes are anticipated to save money, improve efficiencies and provide more safety and security of Commonwealth data and systems.
Fowler will assume the duties from Lori H. Flanery, secretary of the Kentucky Finance & Administration Cabinet, who has served as interim CIO during most of the governor’s administration. He will also serve alongside cabinet secretaries as a member of the governor’s Executive Cabinet.
“Jim is well qualified to take on this important role as CIO—one who must be visionary as well as understand day-to-day operations,” said Finance and Administration Secretary Lori H. Flanery. “With more than 200 candidates, it was an interesting challenge to find the person we felt most fit our needs.  For Jim, most telling was his leadership during the Hurricane Sandy disaster. He’s also led major changes in the way IT services were delivered throughout the New York City government.”
Prior to joining Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration in 2010, Fowler held CIO positions with the Chicago Transit Authority and the New York City Transit Authority. Private sector positions included York International Corporation, and Navistar International Truck and Engine Corporation. 

IT security seminars to raise awareness

Commonwealth Office of Technology will host a series of six free information technology security seminars for state employees during the month of October to raise cyber security awareness.
The seminars are being held in conjunction with Cyber Security Awareness Month 2012, a national campaign led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). 
Gov. Steve Beshear signed a proclamation Oct. 1 designating the month of October as Cyber Security Awareness Month in Kentucky. 
The seminars kick off at 10 a.m. Oct. 9 at COT’s 101 Cold Harbor Drive training rooms with a 1.5-hour presentation on physical security best practices and IT convergence from Brad Pyles of Advanced Digital Solutions, LLC.
Employees should receive approval from managers to attend. Reservations are advised due to limited seating. Additional details, including reservation information can be found on COT’s website.

Seminar dates and times
(All seminars at COT’s 101 Cold Harbor training room except where noted *)
Physical Security Best Practices and IT Convergence
Brad Pyles, Advanced Digital Solutions, LLC
Estimated seminar length:  1.5 hours
Time:  10 a.m.
Date:  Oct. 9
Place:  COT training rooms, 101 Cold Harbor Drive, Frankfort, Ky.
Current Threat and Mitigation State: A Whole New World
David O'Berry, Technology Strategist, McAfee, Inc.
Estimated seminar length:  One hour
Time:  10 a.m.
Date:  Oct. 11
Place:  COT training rooms, 101 Cold Harbor Drive, Frankfort, Ky.

The State of Web Exploit Kits
Jeremy “Howie” Howerton, Technologist, HP Enterprise Security Products Group
Estimated seminar length:  One hour
Time:  10 a.m.
Date:  Oct. 16
Place:  COT training rooms, 101 Cold Harbor Drive, Frankfort, Ky.
*How to be an Individual Contributor to Enterprise Cyber-security
Brian Tillett, Chief Security Strategist, Symantec Public Sector, Symantec Inc.
Estimated seminar length:  One hour
Time:  10 a.m.
Date:  Oct. 19
Place:  *Kentucky Transportation Building, 200 Mero Street, Room C118, Frankfort, Ky.
Passwords, Policies, People, . . . and Problems!
Brent Crossland, Senior Manager, State Government Initiatives, Entrust, Inc.
Estimated seminar length:  1.5 hours
Time:  10 a.m.
Date:  Oct. 24
Place:  COT training rooms, 101 Cold Harbor Drive, Frankfort, Ky.
Weaponizing the User
Chris Sanders, Senior Security Analyst, InGuardians
Estimated seminar length:  1.5 hours
Time:  2:30 p.m.
Date:  Oct. 26
Place:  COT training rooms, 101 Cold Harbor Drive, Frankfort, Ky.

eScrap program turning junk into cash for government agencies, schools

A state recycling program that rewards schools and government agencies for recycling surplus electronics continues to pay dividends more than three years after it launched.
 More than 9.2 million pounds of old computers, televisions and other electronics have been kept from the state’s landfills since the Commonwealth began partnering with Creative Recycling Systems for the e-scrap recycling program in 2009, according to Tom Heil, an environmental scientist at the Kentucky Division of Waste Management. 
Electronic scrap, or e-scrap, includes “end-of-life” electronic equipment: telephones and cell phones; computers and associated equipment, such as keyboards, computer mice, cables and speakers; audio and stereo gear; VCRs; DVD players; video game consoles; fax machines; printers; and iPods.
Numerous school systems and state and local government agencies participate in the program that has served as a model for other states, Heil said.
The state’s e-scrap recycling program ensures that less than 5 percent of the devices collected will end up in landfills. It is also executed at no cost to the participants or taxpayers. 
Creative picks up the material statewide and pays participants based on quantity and/or weight of the recyclable goods. Participating schools and agencies have collectively been reimbursed more than $205,000 since the start of the program, according to the latest figures supplied by the Division of Waste Management.
Collected electronics are taken to the company’s distribution center in Louisville where items are separated and sent to processing centers in Durham, N.C., Atlanta or Tampa to rebuild, dismantle and recover any salvageable parts. Computer hard drives are erased, and components or parts that can’t be salvaged are separated, shredded and recycled to keep them out of landfills.
“This program is both beneficial to the generators of the e-Scrap by providing some revenue for the items, but also provides information security of such things as payroll records, social security numbers and HIPAA patient information,” Heil said. “From (the division’s) standpoint, it also is equally important that items containing hazardous materials are processed in an environmentally sound manner, protecting the health of citizens and the environment of the Commonwealth.”

State working to expand broadband utilization, adoption

Many rural areas throughout the state will soon see an increase in broadband availability as communications companies begin using federal grants and loans from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to expand their infrastructure services. 
As those projects get under way, officials are also working to find the best approach to encourage more households and businesses throughout the state to take advantage of broadband resources.
Although 91 percent of the state’s residents currently have access to at least one type of broadband service, only 58 percent of those homes actually subscribe, according to Brian Kiser, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Broadband Development. The reasons most often cited by those who do not subscribe include the cost barrier and what some people say is a lack of value.
“We first believed that availability was our state’s largest challenge in the broadband gap, but that does not appear to be the case,” Kiser said. “The issue in Kentucky primarily centers on utilization rather than availability.  But we do not want to overlook the fact that 400,000 citizens currently have no access to high-speed service at home.” 
Companies plan to use federal funding to bring broadband into more remote areas include Windstream, Mountain Rural Telephone, Foothills Rural Telephone, Peoples Rural Telephone and West Kentucky Rural Telephone. 
Nearly $400 million in grants and federal stimulus funds have been allocated toward broadband expansion in Kentucky since 2009 – the state’s share of more than $7 billion allocated by Congress through ARRA.   
More than 50 stakeholders, including consultants, government officials and special interest groups gathered on Dec. 7, 2011, in Frankfort for a roundtable discussion about Internet expansion and increased utilization in the Commonwealth. 
During that meeting the group recommended each region of the state develop its own strategy and initiatives for broadband adoption based on their own characteristics, values and priorities. Other recommendations included discovering ways to better educate small business owners about broadband benefits, and making non-metro areas a priority for Internet training programs and resources.
The group agreed that training programs and resources should be developed to target low- to middle- income individuals ages 54 or older, and focus on high-opportunity industry sectors within each region, rather than undertaking broad but untargeted initiatives.
Kiser said broadband service expansion and increased adoption rates will ultimately lead to greater education and employment opportunities in rural areas, as well as advancements in eHealth, business, government services, and communication.
“Broadband isn’t so much a luxury anymore – our future will depend on it, so we want to be effective in our efforts to increase awareness of its benefits”
More information:

Attendance high for tech seminars

Nearly 300 state government technology professionals recently attended information technology security seminars at the Commonwealth Data Center to learn about evolving security threats and industry trends.
Commonwealth Office of Technology sponsored seven seminars during the month of October that featured presentations from speakers representing some of the biggest names in government and private-sector IT security industry, including McAfee, Symantec, Cisco, Blue Coat and others.
Commissioner Steve Rucker said understanding the dangers of cyber threats is the first step in combating them. 
“We thank our vendor partners for bringing the latest intelligence to state government’s IT community,” Rucker said.
The seminars were scheduled in conjunction with Cyber Security Awareness Month, a national movement aimed at drawing attention to the importance of IT security throughout the month of October, led by a coalition of nonprofit agencies, private companies and government organizations. Those agencies include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Association of State Chief Information Officers and the National Cyber Security Alliance.
Seminar topics ran the gamut from identity theft to advanced persistent threats and global IT security intelligence.  Several speakers elaborated on the concept behind B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device) a trend that gives government and private-sector employees the ability to utilize their own devices at work through secure cloud computing.
“This year we were certainly impressed by the high number of attendees and positive responses we heard from technology professionals who attended the seminars,” said Katrina LeMay, who serves as the state’s chief information security officer. “The feedback we received thus far has been encouraging, and is an incentive for us to continue hosting more events like these in the future.”
Gov. Steve Beshear designated October as Cyber Security Awareness Month in Kentucky to encourage citizens to learn more about cyber security and the dangers of online threats.
For information about future seminars and training opportunities, contact Gail Ritchey at or (502) 564-1595.

COT to host IT security seminars

Commonwealth Office of Technology will host a number of seminars in coming weeks at the state’s data center to raise awareness of the importance of information technology security.
The first seminar will begin at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 6 at the Commonwealth Data Center with a presentation from Mike Mitchell, a senior system engineer at Blue Coat Systems, who will speak on advanced persistent threats.  Later that day, Phyllis Schneck, vice president and chief technology officer at McAfee, will speak at 1 p.m. about global threat intelligence.
The seminars are being held in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, an outreach effort led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC).
COT will offer a total of seven seminars from Oct. 6 to Oct. 20 that will be led by leading security experts representing government and private sectors.
“Even the most technology-savvy companies and individuals can fall victim to hacking and identify theft,” said Lori Flanery, secretary of the Kentucky Finance & Administration Cabinet and interim Chief Information Officer.  “That is why it is so important that we promote security awareness, invest wisely in security training and software and remain diligent in our efforts to keep malicious efforts at bay.” 
Gov. Steve Beshear recently designated October as Cyber Security Awareness Month in Kentucky to encourage citizens of the Commonwealth to learn more about cyber security and the dangers of online threats.
Katrina LeMay, chief information security officer at COT, said the sessions were designed to cover a wide range of topics, including global intelligence, identity theft and securing voice and data infrastructure.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Association of Chief Information Officers and the National Cyber Security Alliance have also declared October National Cyber Security Awareness Month to call attention to security issues.

On the Web:
Commonwealth Office of Technology seminar information and registration:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

National Association of Chief Information Officers

National Cyber Security Alliance

Service mapping helping COT better serve customers

Commonwealth Office of Technology is using Microsoft’s service mapping methodology to better understand the relationship between the state’s IT infrastructure and business services of state agencies.
Medium and large IT shops often get caught up in the detail of managing IT assets, but lose sight of the customer’s view of simply noticing that a service is not available, according to Daniel Arnold, assistant director of COT’s Division of Technical Services.
“The service mapping exercise helps us bridge a gap between managing our infrastructure and supporting an agency’s business,” Arnold said.
Microsoft recently created a service map for Epay, the state’s online credit card payment system that processes roughly $1.8 billion in transactions annually, Arnold said. That system handles transactions for hunting and fishing licenses, pharmacy board and nursing board certificate renewals, tax and revenue fee payments, among other services.
Epay support spans several state agencies, including COT and Finance Comptrollers, as well as external providers such as Kentucky Interactive and Link2Gov.
When Epay is not working, there are many possible points of failure, and it can be difficult to resolve quickly, but every minute of delay postpones revenue coming into our state agencies, according to Janet Lile, deputy executive director of COT’s Office of Infrastructure Services.
Using the Epay service map will allow COT and the partner agencies to locate technical problems with more precision and restore services more quickly for customers.
“It is a big win for us and a lot of agencies,” Lile said.
In a bid to reduce down time for the Epay system, Arnold said service mapping will allow the organization to better plan for maintenance and upgrades during times that avoid peak business cycles of the agencies, reducing the chance for unplanned down time or interruption of services to citizens.
Representatives from Microsoft also instructed COT and partner agency officials how service mapping can be applied to other single and multi-agency services, which will enable better understanding of the correlation between other agencies’ business and the technology which supports it, Arnold said.
“They gave us a ‘fish’ with Epay, but also taught us ‘how to fish’ so that we can apply these techniques to other services we support,” Arnold said. 

Innovation reigns supreme in annual ‘Best of Kentucky’

Click here to see photos of all award winners
Kentucky Department of Homeland Security recently received recognition for its Suspicious Activity Reporting System (SARS) at the 2011 Digital Government Summit in Frankfort.
The SARS program was one of four innovative state IT projects honored with a Best of Kentucky Award during the annual summit sponsored by Government Technology Magazine that was held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Frankfort on April 19, 2011.  The program took top honors in the “Best Application Serving the Public” category.
The reporting system offers citizens the ability to quickly and easily report suspicious activity through the agency’s Web site or by using a new free iPhone application. Since the application was released, DHS officials have reported the ability to expand their information base, analyze information more effectively, and focus agency and law-enforcement personnel on credible and immediate threats.
Homeland security officials said the application helps law enforcement identify patterns of suspicious activity, pinpoint areas of greater risk, and makes first responders and intelligence liaison officers aware of potential threats.
The magazine presents the award each year to a Kentucky agency responsible for designing, developing and deploying applications or improving existing systems that directly deliver services more efficiently and effectively to the public.  Government Technology Magazine sponsors the summit to provide an opportunity for technology leaders from across the state to gather and share ideas on crucial IT issues.  Municipalities, along with local and state government agencies in Kentucky, are increasingly turning to technology to reduce government operating costs, and the annual event provides a forum for collaboration on technology solutions and fiscally sound business practices.
Commonwealth Office of Technology was asked to assemble a panel of state government IT specialists to judge the 37 nominations submitted this year, according to Brian Kiser, the agency’s executive director of the Office of Enterprise Technology.
Other winners announced at this year’s event include:

Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations
The Kentucky Health Information Exchange provides the technical infrastructure for statewide electronic data exchange between hospitals, physician offices, commercial laboratories and pharmacies, and a number of other healthcare entities such as the state’s public health laboratory and infectious disease control programs.
The conceptual foundation for the exchange grew out of the push for a nationwide electronic health network to convert paper medical records to electronic data that can be shared more readily. Having timely access to and retrieval of a patient’s consolidated medical history enables providers to make more informed clinical decisions at the point of care and leads to improved quality of care, patient safety, and improved health outcomes.

Most Innovative Use of Technology
Northern Kentucky University partnered with the San Ramon Valley Fire Department District to create an application to strengthen its relationship with the public.
Application users trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation are notified if someone nearby is in cardiac arrest and directs them to the exact location while notifying them of the closest public access defibrillator and simultaneously dispatching paramedics. The application can also send or push notifications to app users reminding them to check or change their smoke alarm batteries or to send important information such as burn bans.
Best Risk Management Initiative
The Vulnerability Assessment Integration with the Software Development Life Cycle Program was designed and developed by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to ensure the services they provide are safe and secure for the citizens of Kentucky.
The cabinet ensures citizen information remains private when accessed via electronic methods, including web based applications.  The cabinet is also extending the reach and accessibility of services through web based applications, two of which are greatly impacting the health and well being of citizens:  The Kentucky Health Information Exchange (KHIE) and Child Support Modernization Project (CSM).

Visionary Award
The 2011 Visionary Award was presented to Dr. Gail W. Wells, vice president of academic affairs and provost at Northern Kentucky University.
Dr. Wells is responsible for the graduate and undergraduate programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Informatics, Education and Human Services, Business, Health Professions, and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law. She also oversees the school’s honors program, university programs, enrollment management, Steely Library, and Information Technology.
With firm beliefs that technology plays a strong role in education, during her tenure she established an enterprise resource planning system that provided the university with the tools to automate many business functions, identify inefficiencies, and streamline and eliminate ineffective business processes. She also supported applied technology projects developed in the Center for Applied Informatics (CAI).
Through collaborative research, internships, student/faculty/staff projects and business development opportunities, students are gaining real world experience working with small businesses, non-profit organizations and other government entities. More than 150 students have been employed by the CAI since its inception, and 40 mobile research and development projects have been regionally and internationally recognized.
1 - 10 Next

 Subscribe to Techlines


Useful Links

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Admin Links