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2022 Network News

December 2022
Volume 22, Number 12

From the Chief Information Officer

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

November was a busy month for the Commonwealth, hallmarked by the Nov. 8 elections. It was a pleasure to see multiple state agencies come together to ensure a smooth and safe elections process. 

We at VITA were particularly happy to help support with information technology needs and are so proud of our partners at the Virginia Department of Elections for the great job they did before, during and after this year’s elections. Thank you for everything you do for the Commonwealth! 

In December, we’ll continue to focus on supporting our partners for existing projects we’ve been working on for some time, as well as new projects that are in the works. And in January’s edition of Network News, we will take a look back at some of our major success stories of 2022 – sharing all the good work that we have collectively done together this year. 

We hope you have a great and safe holiday season with family and friends and look forward to working with all of you in 2023! 


Robert Osmond, Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth

VITA and the Virginia Department of Elections partner for Nov. 8 elections

VITA and the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT), along with other state agencies and private sector partners, recently teamed up to ensure operations and support for the Nov. 8 elections were successful. 

Jessica Sudduth serves as VITA’s customer account manager for ELECT. She says it took months to get ready.

“We started looking at ELECT’s information technology needs very early on and at how we could support a seamless election,” said Sudduth. She added that key preparations included weekly meetings with all stakeholders, testing for potential issues and finding resolution for any issues prior to Election Day. A “change freeze” was instituted for ELECT’s enterprise environment starting on Oct. 7 and ran through Nov. 14 to ensure no changes would affect the voting system. 

“The preparation and organization from all parties getting ready for this election should become the gold standard for future elections. This was a true example of the Commonwealth’s partnership and teamwork,” said Sudduth. 

One of the most thrilling parts of process for Sudduth – being on-site in the “war room” for the day-of election activities. “It was one of the most incredible experiences of my career,” said Sudduth. “I’m incredibly thankful to have served in the election process, representing VITA and the Commonwealth on Election Day.”    

VITA shares "moving" lessons learned  

VITA is sharing some lessons learned from the recent move to the new North Chesterfield facility, partnering with the Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS) as that agency’s lease expires and team members prepare to move to a new location. 

Debbie Hinton, VITA’s project manager for the agency’s recent move, has been meeting monthly with staff from DSS to share valuable insights. 

“During those meetings, we discuss what worked during the VITA move and what we learned that could be helpful during their move,” said Hinton. 

VITA’s move to the new North Chesterfield location took two years to complete and came in on-budget and on-time. As a result of working on the project, Hinton says she can now identify some key “move” elements that are needed: a budget for first-aid/emergency supplies/fire extinguishers; floor plans with evacuation paths; and an updated emergency evacuation plan. 

“It feels great to help out another state agency,” said Hinton. “Anytime that I can help someone and share lessons learned, I am happy to do so.” 

ICYMI: VITA and the Virginia State Police team up to share online holiday shopping safety tips  

In case you missed it: VITA and the Virginia State Police (VSP) are encouraging people in Virginia to be cyber safe when shopping for deals. With the National Retail Federation prediction that online and other non-store holiday shopping will increase from 10% to 12% over last year, the holidays are a prime opportunity for hackers and bad actors to strike. 

“Cyber criminals often try to target online shoppers by creating fraudulent sites and email messages, intercepting insecure transactions and going after vulnerable computers,” said Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth Robert Osmond. “That’s why you need to know what to look out for before you start shopping for deals.” 

“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” said Virginia State Police High Tech Crimes Captain Alan C. Worsham. “With prices on the rise and everyone looking for the best deals for the holidays, criminals are taking full advantage of the moment. Remember to shop from reputable businesses and think twice if the deal is too good.” 

Visit the VITA website for more information. 

MS-ISAC Kids Safe Online poster contest: open to K-12 students in Virginia 

Virginia is now accepting entries for the 2023 Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis (MS-ISAC) Kids Safe Online poster contest. The goal for the contest is to engage young people in actively using cybersecurity knowledge by creating posters to encourage their peers to use the internet safely and securely. The competition also gives teachers in classrooms across Virginia a chance to address and reinforce cybersecurity themes and online safety issues.  

All students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 are eligible to participate. The deadline to enter in Virginia is Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

CyberStart America competition: open to students in grades 9-12 in Virginia

Registration is now open for the 2022-2023 CyberStart America competition. Virginia students in grades 9 through 12 get access to CyberStart, a free, immersive cybersecurity training game. By playing the game, students can learn more about cybersecurity and build skills that could prepare them for a career in technology. They may also qualify for cyber training scholarships worth over $3,000.  

Students can play CyberStart until Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Students who have a high score in CyberStart will then be invited to apply for a scholarship, with scholarship winners being announced in early May 2023. 

Information security tips

This month’s information security tips focus on online holiday shopping. To avoid waiting in lines and traffic, many people opt out of going to malls and choose to shop online.  

Cyber threat actors (CTAs) are aware of that fact and take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers. Be vigilant and avoid falling into their traps. Act and protect your personal and financial information by following a few simple steps at the link below.

Read information security tips.