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Network News

June 2023
Volume 23, Number 6

From the CIO:

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

What sports do you see taking center stage in June? Professional baseball, basketball, golf – just to name a few. While information technology (IT) in the Commonwealth has nothing to do with athletics, the principles of teamwork, gamesmanship and sportsmanship sure do apply to what we do here at VITA.  

Teamwork: How can we work together in partnership with the agencies that we serve? How can we work with each other within VITA to deliver the best IT solutions? How can we work with our vendors to delivered coordinated solutions? We all need to constantly remind ourselves that the team is comprised of agencies, VITA vendors and VITA staff. We are all in this together and we all succeed together.

Gamesmanship: In the sport of IT, we are playing a continuous game. Winning in this game means that we get to continue playing. Winning means that we are recognized as providing a valuable service at a reasonable cost. Winning means that the agencies and customers that we serve view VITA as the provider of choice.

Sportsmanship: We are here to serve and we leave our egos at home. On a team, some members will receive more or less recognition and attention. As good stewards, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. What matters is that Virginians get the best from their government. We delight in making our partners successful and when they win, we win.

We also need a playbook to let everyone know what we’re doing. That playbook is our Strategic Business Plan, which details our strategic goals along with the seven strategic initiatives that support those goals. For the next few months here in Network News, I’m going to focus on each one of our seven strategic initiatives to share the progress that we’re making, as well as how that benefits you – our partners.  

This month, we’re talking about strategic initiative number one – improving the customer IT experience. This one is an interesting one, because the steps we are taking in this landscape include the creation of a whole new team at VITA, the customer experience (CX) team.

Led by customer experience officer (CXO) Richard Matthews, the CX team is comprised of some existing areas – the project management division and customer strategy and investment governance – as well as some brand new elements that are still being built up, as we speak.  

The CX team is changing the way we support our customer agencies by creating an environment where we are focused on our customers’ success. This goes beyond being more responsive and elevating the voice of the customer, and requires developing a deep and complete understanding of the business and the needs of our customers. 

This team is supporting one of the biggest projects we’re working on right now, network modernization. This project, with a goal of increasing the network capacity by 1,000%, will transform our network from a legacy environment to a modern software-defined environment (SD-WAN). 

No project in Virginia, and in the U.S., has embarked on such an ambitious and impact-generating program. We are already looking forward to the "Win Party!!" We anticipate more impactful work from our newest program area.   

This is just the tip of the iceberg for delivering outcomes to support strategic initiative number one. We look forward to making great progress there and beyond as we all work together to better serve the Commonwealth.  


Robert Osmond, CIO of the Commonwealth

VITA establishes objectives and key results 

Did you know? VITA has established objectives and key results (OKRs) to ensure that the agency is achieving the seven strategic initiatives as outlined in our strategic business plan. In order to monitor the OKRs, a dashboard has been developed to help regularly track the progress. 

ICYMI: VITA successfully completes messaging migration transition project for the Commonwealth of Virginia

VITA has successfully completed of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s messaging transition project. The closely coordinated, executive branch-wide effort moved the common messaging services including email, calendar, archival, mobile device management, online storage, productivity suites and collaboration services, for 69 Virginia state agencies and 72,475 user accounts to the Microsoft 365 platform.  

The project, which wrapped up on-time and on-budget, migrated more than 1.6 billion objects with a 99.9% success rate. Some of the additional benefits include: 

  • Integrated toolsets that allow for cost savings and streamlined workflows 
  • The ability to leverage Microsoft’s information security tools 
  • Reduction of third-party tools needed to support a multi-messaging environment 
  • Reduced operational complexity and costs  
  • Elimination of redundant workplace productivity tools

VITA and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management encourage Virginians to prepare for hurricane season by putting together a "digital preparedness kit"

VITA and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management have teamed up to encourage Virginians to prepare for hurricane season by setting up a “digital preparedness kit” to help stormproof your electronic devices and digital information. 

Here are the steps you can take right now to safeguard your data and devices: 

  • Make sure your electronics are backed up on a regular basis; 
  • Scan important paperwork, documents and sentimental items such as photos into a digital format. You can do this by using a scanner, a handheld camera or with an app on your mobile device; 
  • Once your key information has been saved digitally, back up your data and files to an external hard drive, USB drive or a cloud-based server; and 
  • Take physical steps to prepare your devices ahead of time: 
  • Make sure you keep all of your electronics charged up, so you’re ready to go prior to any type of emergency;  
  • If you’re in an area prone to flooding, elevate your electronic devices to a high and dry place, away from windows; 
  • Unplug them to protect them from power outages and lightning strikes; and 
  • In the event of power outages, have a portable charger ready to recharge your devices. 

For more information, visit the VITA website

Two Virginia students are national winners in the 2023 Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center's Kids Safe Online poster contest  

Two Virginia students have been named as national winners in the 2023 Multi-State Sharing and Analysis Center’s (MS-ISAC) Kids Safe Online poster contest.  

Faith, a junior from the Williamsburg-James City County (WJCC) Virtual Academy, won first place in the national contest overall. Rosalind, a junior from Radford High School, also placed in the top 10. In all, the Commonwealth submitted entries from 18 students in elementary, junior and high school into the national competition. 

The goal of the contest is to engage young people in creating posters to encourage their peers to use the internet safely and securely. The competition also offers an opportunity for teachers in classrooms across Virginia to address and reinforce cybersecurity and online safety issues. All students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 are eligible to participate.  

To see all the submissions from this year’s Virginia finalists, visit the VITA website. 

CyberStart America competition: 12 Virginia students named as national cyber scholars with honors, 208 Virginia students named as national cyber scholars 

12 Virginia students have been named as national cyber scholars with honors and 208 Virginia students have been named as national cyber scholars in the 2023 CyberStart America competition. 

National cyber scholars with honors earn cyber training scholarships worth approximately $9,000 each, and national cyber scholars earn training scholarships worth approximately $3,000 each. This year’s scholarships total around $732,000 across the Commonwealth. 

The CyberStart America competition, in partnership with the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF) and the SANS Institute, offers students in grades 9 through 12 free access to CyberStart, an immersive cybersecurity training game. Students can play the game to learn more about cybersecurity and build skills that could prepare them for a career in technology. 

For more information on CyberStart America and this year’s list of winning students in Virginia, visit the VITA website.