March 2015
Volume 10, Number 3

From the CIO

CIO Sam Nixon

CIO Sam Nixon

During my tenure as your CIO, our mutual accomplishments in Virginia have been held in high esteem by other states, government media and national IT organizations. A significant reason: the dedication and good work of the commonwealth's agencies, executive leadership and technology leaders. Our motto, "Enabling the Business of Government," stands true. Our collective efforts over the last decade have been groundbreaking. Localities and other government entities also are making significant strides to better serve citizens. The numerous national awards, accolades and features in national trade publications garnered in recent years pay tribute to these accomplishments. 

As I depart VITA and my position as CIO, I thank you for your incredible support and commend you for the good work that you do. I especially appreciated the many courtesies shown to me over the years, but mostly I look forward to following your accomplishments in the months and years to come. Please call on me if I can be of help to you with any of your future endeavors.


Sam Nixon Jr.

Agencies’ business impacts of power interruption sought

VITA soon will ask that agency information technology resources (AITRs) complete a survey to establish a record of each business function impacted by the computer room power interruption at the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center (CESC) on Jan. 30. VITA is aware of the technology that was impacted. Via an online survey, VITA will ask agencies to provide business processes and dependencies impacted. Agency customer account managers (CAM) will provide a business impact analysis (BIA) extract from which agencies’ staff members can work to provide the information needed. The BIAs were developed from information that agencies provided as part of disaster recovery planning. In the survey, VITA is seeking details of direct costs (agency labor costs), indirect costs (vendor charges) and impact costs (lost revenue or fines) that agencies incurred during the power interruption, and impacts on citizens and other stakeholders that you serve.

VITA engages firm to prepare for infrastructure contract re-bid

The commonwealth’s contract with Northrop Grumman for information technology (IT) infrastructure services expires on July 1, 2019. VITA must prepare, seek input, consider options and develop recommendations to ensure continuity and reliability of IT infrastructure services leading up to and through that date. Because of the complexity of the contract and the time that likely will be needed for any transition of services, VITA is working now to determine how to proceed when the contract ends. VITA has engaged Integris Applied (, a technology strategy consulting firm, to assist with next steps. Integris was selected through a competitive procurement process from a highly qualified field of applicants. The company brings decades of experience in large, complex, state government technology sourcing initiatives, most recently in Georgia and Texas. 

While the commonwealth’s IT enterprise (security and disaster recovery capabilities, standards for IT infrastructure technologies, etc.) has moved forward under the Northrop Grumman contract, the marketplace has evolved since the contract signing in 2006. VITA and the commonwealth require a strategy for the IT enterprise across state government that accounts for needs, cost, performance, flexibility, standards and security. This new strategy must consider: 

  • Needs and wants of commonwealth agencies, and the expectations of the citizens they serve; 

  • Innovative services and capabilities in the marketplace; 

  • New delivery models, industry standard contract terms and current pricing; and, 

  • VITA’s existing contract with Northrop Grumman. 

The development of recommendations is VITA’s top priority for 2015 and will be accomplished with extensive input from its stakeholders. 

Information on IT Infrastructure Sourcing

DBHDS adds dynamic, secure telehealth/telework model

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) has implemented its first strategic telehealth/telework Web conferencing technology with integrated audio using MeetingOne. This new model allows the agency to communicate more closely with doctors, health care providers, community service boards, group homes, private providers, and employees. It improves efficiency and saves commuting, communication and labor expenses. The system also ensures compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

Under a statewide VITA contract with MeetingOne, Adobe Connect technology is available for state agencies and local government entities. Adobe and MeetingOne are offering a trial of the technology at no cost for 30 days. For more information contact Mario Epps, Application Architect at DBHDS to request a sample presentation of the service.

Watch for a webinar featuring the DBHDS technical platform for IT staff and the annual Adobe Day in April. Details on these two events will be provided as they are finalized.

Social Media Topic Report on ORCA

The proposed new Social Media Topic Report is posted on ORCA for review and comment at The review period will expire March 29. 

This report was written to help executive branch agencies determine if they should use social media in a communications, community engagement or policy consultation context and addresses the issues that need to be considered before an agency begins using social media. It is intended to be useful to managers, leadership teams and practitioners who administer social media efforts. This report creates/describes technical topics such as wikis, blogs, mash ups, Web feeds (such as Really Simple Syndication [RSS] feeds), moderated discussion tools, social networking sites and virtual worlds. Questions can be addressed to

Guidelines for program management posted online

The new Commonwealth Information Technology Resource Management (ITRM) Program Management Guideline (CPM 302-00) is posted to the VITA website at

This guideline, and its 14 customizable templates, provides an advisory resource that can be used to help agencies and other organizations formulate and manage IT programs in conformity to the Program Management Standard. It contains common-sense explanations of program management concepts, key activities, management techniques and documentation examples. 

Mike Sandridge, project management manager, said “VITA is committed to serving the needs of our stakeholders, both today and in the to-be technical environment of five and 10 years from now. To do so, there is clearly a need for such a document. Agencies, and even secretariats, are interacting and collaborating on related, interdependent projects more so now than ever before. The IT Program Management Standard establishes the common structure and the rules for organizations to work together and govern programs effectively. The guideline brings welcome direction on what typically are large and complex undertakings.” 

The guideline is a supplementary advisory resource to the IT Program Management Standard (CPM 301-01), which describes the procedures, documentation, governance and oversight requirements for managing IT programs within the commonwealth. 

Comments or questions should be submitted to Pat Reynolds at or (804) 416-6184, at VITA. 

ITRM Program Management Guideline 

Governor’s cyber security group sets town hall meetings

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced that his Cyber Security Commission will host four additional town hall meetings across the commonwealth. The town halls are designed to both inform the public on the work of the commission and also gather input. The initial meeting was held last month in Blacksburg. 

“The cyber security industry is a cornerstone of the new Virginia economy, and these town hall meetings are a great way for our commission members to hear concerns and suggestions from citizens, academia and industry across the state,” Governor McAuliffe said. 

Additional meetings scheduled include: 

  • March 23 -- New College, Martinsville 

  • April 24 -- James Madison University, Harrisonburg 

  • May 19 -- University of Virginia, Charlottesville 

  • June 9 -- Norfolk State University, Norfolk 

Additional town hall details 

Cybercrime is big business

U.S. victims lost nearly $180 million through one email scam between Oct. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2014. Cybercrime, whether from malware on a single computer or the recent high-profile hacks against Sony, Target, Home Depot and others, impacts everyone. This month's edition of Information Security Tips highlights tools you can use to help minimize your risk of being a victim. 

Read February Information Security Tips 

Security conference slated April 2-3

The 2015 Commonwealth of Virginia Information Security Conference is scheduled April 2–3 and registration now is open. Gov. McAuliffe’s office has confirmed that he will speak at the event. 

With the theme of "Unifying the Business Enterprise," the second annual security conference will focus on issues such as balancing security risks with business needs, regulatory compliance, governance, secure data sharing, threat management and lessons learned from data breaches. In addition to expert presentations, the conference program will feature keynote addresses by two nationally known speakers. Michael Fey, president and chief operating officer of Blue Coat, will kick off the first day. Karen S. Evans, national director for the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC), will lead activities on the second day. The conference is geared toward information security officers, information security analysts and engineers, CIOs, IT auditors, privacy officers, risk officers, and other IT officers, managers and staff who have an interest in security or online privacy. 

Conference participants will have the opportunity to: 

  • Expand their professional networks; 

  • Learn about security products and services; and, 

  • Maintain professional certifications. 

Registration for the conference, to be held at the Crowne Plaza in Richmond, is $125. Continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon refreshments will be provided. Registration deadline is March 20. 

Security conference information 

Mark your calendars for COVITS

The Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium (COVITS) has been scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 9 and 10, by Government Technology. This year's event will be at the Hilton Short Pump. 

Virginia events observe Code Across America


Gov. McAuliffe's office partnered with regional civic coding groups to host three local events for Code Across America last month. Locations included Blacksburg, Hampton Roads and Richmond. Participants used state data to launch new projects. 

Code Across America events 

VITA is DRI Awards of Excellence finalist

VITA has been named as a finalist for the 2015 DRI Awards of Excellence in the category of IT Infrastructure. This award recognizes organizations for excellence in continuity management, technology recovery and crisis management. 

Information about the DRI Awards 



Virginia Data Stewards establish 2015 priorities

In order to accomplish priority tasks in 2015, the Commonwealth of Virginia Data Stewards Group will operate as three focused bodies: the executive group, the functional/policy working group and the technical working group. VITA will facilitate and align the working groups’ activities with goals and objectives in the Commonwealth Enterprise Information Architecture (EIA) Strategy. The executive group will be responsible for providing strategic planning, policy and executive guidance on data governance, information sharing and data standardization. The functional/policy group will drive efforts for cross-agency information exchange, enterprise data sharing agreements, agency-level EIA strategies and business-driven training plans for data stewards. The technical group will inform on strategies for data quality, data security, enterprise data models, metadata tools, and registries and analytics. 

Data stewardship is the management and oversight of the commonwealth's data assets to provide business users with high-quality data that is easily accessible in a consistent manner.