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Network News

April 2023
Volume 23, Number 4

From the CIO:

Robert Osmond, Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth
CIO Robert Osmond

Thank you all for your teamwork and collaboration. This month marks a milestone for me as I have now been in the Commonwealth Chief Information Officer (CIO) position for a year. This last year has been an incredible journey for me and the information technology (IT) leaders in the Commonwealth. 

Together, we have accomplished a lot. For example, we completed our Commonwealth data center move; we are consolidating our messaging environment; we have improved our cybersecurity maturity by deploying an enterprise cybersecurity training program, KnowBe4, and vaulted all of our system administrative passwords; and we are massively improving our infrastructure. All while pivoting from a pandemic to post-pandemic world and adjusting to a “new normal.” And I look forward to getting even more done as we look ahead into 2023. In this edition of Network News, I would like to talk about three things: messaging, network and cybersecurity.  

Messaging migration: In 2022, we began the process of migrating Commonwealth agencies from the Google platform to Microsoft. Dozens of agencies have made the move – and we have just one more to go! While we know that the changes brought about by this project for agencies have taken some planning and time to navigate, we are already experiencing benefits by using the same tools and technology, enabling better communication and collaboration:

  • Using a single Microsoft platform means that we can all use the same tools such as Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, Power BI and many others. 
  • It means that we can use Microsoft native tools for encryption, data loss prevention and archiving. 
  • It helps us avoid additional third-party tools that cost more and often don’t integrate well. 

As we complete our migration project, which is planned for the end of this month, my ask is that you start looking at the new technologies in place and thinking about ways that you can improve your agency operations. 

Network modernization: Since last summer, you have heard me talk about our network modernization project. This project will transform our network from a legacy environment to a modern software-defined environment (SD-WAN).

The agencies that VITA serves operate out of about 1,200 locations. Each site will require three activities: IOS/firmware upgrade, SD-WAN configuration and broadband integration. As of today, 63% of the sites have the new IOS, 21% are configured for SD-WAN and 2% of the sites have new broadband integrated. Many sites, almost 200, have also upgraded or are in the process of upgrading their existing circuits to realize accelerated network capability. 

As you can see, we have a lot more work to do. In partnership with the Department of Planning and Budget, additional funding was allocated to all agencies starting in January, in the form of a VITA credit, to fund the ordering of additional commercial broadband. VITA is being asked by the administration to report on progress. The new state standard for broadband is 100 MBS and my goal is to get that for most state offices. My ask to each of you is to make sure that you place your broadband orders so that VITA can upgrade you as soon as possible.  

Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity remains a top priority. The 2022 Digital States Survey recognized cybersecurity as the top priority among state CIOs. In Virginia, we have made tremendous investments and advancements in our cybersecurity capabilities including:

  • Improvements in education and password management;
  • Deployment of new tools for scanning, vulnerability management, incident response and security operations; and
  • Completion of a Zero Trust strategy, which will inform more improvements to allow for further enhancements.

My ask to the agency Information Security Officers (ISO) is to contact the Commonwealth security team and request a briefing so that each of you can take advantage of the new capabilities that have launched and are soon to be available. 

We greatly appreciate the partnership and teamwork of our internal experts and customer agencies. We hope that you continue to experience technology improvements in your agencies as we strive to realize of our vision of becoming Virginia's most customer-focused technology partner, empowering the Commonwealth to achieve more through innovative, efficient and secure technology. 


Robert Osmond, CIO of the Commonwealth

VITA volunteers help ensure success in messaging migration initiative

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s messaging migration initiative is coming to a close, and the numbers help tell the story. To date, 66 agencies and more than 1.5 billion objects have been migrated from Google to the Microsoft platform, accounting for 86% of users across the Commonwealth. 

A contributing factor – the approximately 49 VITA volunteers who provided hands-on, day-of assistance to agencies as they navigated the migration process.  

Cheryl Truman, agency satisfaction manager for VITA, was the volunteer team organizer. 

“The volunteer experience allowed the VITA on-site team the ability to see first-hand which training and education documentation needed supplier revisions. Also, the on-site team was able to share lessons learned across multiple agencies for supplier attention and mitigation before the next group of migration,” said Truman. “Last, I believe the on-site team provided assistance that garnered confidence with agencies about their migration success.” 

Truman has words of praise for the volunteers who invested their time and talent to ensure a positive outcome. “Many of you went to agencies that you have never visited. You travelled across Virginia, even to remote agency sites to ensure that customers experienced a smooth transition. Thank you for your commitment to agency and customer success!“

Website modernization program: please implement the new Commonwealth branding bar by June 30 

The updated Commonwealth banner has been finalized and is now available for implementation. The banner should be installed on all public-facing websites, including interior pages and application login screens, by Friday, June 30.

The objective of the Commonwealth banner is to provide consistent top-level branding and a more cohesive customer experience across all agency websites. The banner is available with either a black background and white logo, or a white background with dark blue logo. Agencies may use the option that works best with their existing website.

The new banner also offers enhanced search functionality across all agency websites. Check it out by selecting “Choose a Commonwealth Resource” on the right side of the banner – the new banner is already up on the VITA website.

Recruitment programs bring new talent to VITA

VITA is expanding ways to bring talent to the agency. This includes participating in hosting a fellow from Virginia Management Fellows (VMF), a two-year-long program that creates opportunities for participants to get hands-on experience in state government.  

Ed Cronin is a part of VMF and recently joined VITA and the human resources (HR) team where he is working as an analyst. Through VMF he is rotating among three state agencies, spending eight months at each one. VITA is his second stop.  

“Some examples of projects I’m working on -- planning the associates program and summer internship structure, as well as analyzing the agency’s hiring process,” said Cronin. “My background is in environmental science, data analysis and public service so the research opportunities provided by VITA allow me to strengthen my technical skillset while increasing my knowledge of HR policies.”  

VITA’s associates program focuses on supplementing the agency workforce by hiring entry-level talent. The summer internship program is designed to introduce college students to careers in business and the information technology careers within the public sector. Stay tuned to future editions of Network News, where we’ll introduce more participants of our growing talent programs.

Save the date: 2023 Commonwealth of Virginia Information Security Conference  

Save the date for the most innovative Commonwealth of Virginia Information Security conference yet!   

This year’s conference will be on Thursday, Aug. 17, at the Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa/Short Pump at 12042 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23233.  

Join us for a day of thought-provoking discussions and networking opportunities with industry experts. 

Stay tuned for more details on our can't-miss, IN-PERSON event! 

VITA holds adoption, governance and administration learning opportunity event for Power Platform administrators and power users  

VITA recently hosted an adoption, governance and administration learning opportunity event for Commonwealth of Virginia Power Platform administrators and power users. The Power Platform hub and community of practice forum are designed to foster collaborative relationships across executive branch agencies. 

Nearly 40 people from 16 agencies across the Commonwealth attended the event, with a goal of gaining an understanding of the environment's administrative roles and responsibilities, use of the forum to manage apps and flows, how to monitor Power BI dashboards and regulating environments and more. 

More Power Platform-related events will be held in the coming days, so stay tuned for more information! 

Box innovation day on April 11

Registration is open for agencies to participate in a VITA-hosted Box innovation day on April 11. Through hands-on exercises, attendees will learn how Box for state government can help them modernize citizen services and engagement through native Box functionalities such as collecting metadata, social connections, annotations and more.

Additionally, Salesforce will be in attendance to show the seamless integration between Box and Salesforce, specifically with Commonwealth use cases around case and grants management.    

An in-person, half-day workshop will be held from 1– 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, at the VITA office. Space is limited, and registration is required.  

Adobe enterprise-wide volume discount

VITA, in collaboration with Adobe, has enrolled the Commonwealth of Virginia (COV) in the Adobe Large Government Agencies (LGA) program, which establishes an enterprise-wide volume discount. VITA was able to capture greater discounts by leveraging the volume of Adobe licenses across all COV public bodies (city, county and government agencies). 

The Adobe LGA program offers volume discount enterprise licensing, support and capabilities, along with the flexibility of Adobe's Value Incentive Plan (VIP) functionality.

NOTE: This does not relieve users of this program from fulfilling security requirements.

Webinars slated for service catalog training 

Webinars have been scheduled to showcase the "Catalog by Persona" ordering format for end-user devices.

The webinars, to be held the week of April 17, are open to all entities that use the VITA service catalog to order end-user computing devices.

Registration is now open.