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2022 Network News

November 2022
Volume 22, Number 11

From the Chief Information Officer:

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

October is over, that means Cybersecurity Awareness Month has once again come to a close, and what a month it was! 

The Commonwealth of Virginia showed that we are indeed “all in” when it comes to cybersecurity. We partnered with a number of other state agencies including Virginia’s Office of Data Governance and Analytics, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education, Virginia 529, the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, as well as the Texas Department of Information Resources and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to share the message about the importance of cybersecurity awareness and education. 

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Cyber Awareness section on the VITA website, go take a look – and especially check out all the great videos that were created, in collaboration with our partners, for Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It was an amazing team effort, and we know we will all continue to emphasis the importance of cybersecurity awareness all year-round. 

Since we are now in November and approaching Veterans Day, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have served in the armed forces, and your families. You all have made great sacrifices for our country and the Commonwealth and, without you, we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today as Virginians and Americans. Thank you for everything you do day-in-and-day-out and thank you for your service! 


Robert Osmond, Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth

New Information Technology Advisory Council to begin meeting in December 

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s newly-revitalized Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC) begins meeting next month. The ITAC’s purpose is to advise the Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth and the Secretary of Administration on matters concerning information technology (IT) in Virginia.  

“ITAC is the only public body that provides a regular channel for legislative and private input to executive branch IT leadership on a wide range of subjects, including cybersecurity, strategy, priorities and more,” said VITA’s Director of Legal and Legislative Services Joshua Heslinga. “ITAC advises about broader technology issues, which is consistent with the whole-of-the-Commonwealth approach that Governor Youngkin’s administration is taking with respect to cybersecurity, the citizen experience and other matters.” 

State legislation that went into effect on July 1 brought about some changes to the ITAC including increasing the number of council members, as well as adding cybersecurity to its advisory area.  

“Technology is now integral to society, agencies’ operations and how state government serves the public. As a result, there are more and more legislators who both see the importance of IT and who have a background and interest in IT,” said Heslinga. “Additionally, the new ITAC is different from the first version years ago, so it has a broader scope and more potential going forward.” 

The ITAC’s first meeting is set for Dec. 8, with quarterly meetings to follow. For a complete list of ITAC members, visit VITA's ITAC page. If you have questions about the ITAC, send them to

Messaging migration project update

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s messaging migration project, carried out in conjunction with NTT Data, continues to move forward. To date, 22 executive branch agencies have transitioned from the Google platform to Microsoft – that equates to approximately 51% of users. 

In September, the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia in Staunton completed its move to Microsoft. VITA’s customer account manager (CAM) for the museum Marcy Thornhill was on-site to assist with "Day 1" messaging migration, as were CAM Manager Victoria Harness and Customer Strategy and Investment Governance Director John Kissel. “We were there to support. It was awesome! We had a few minor issues, but nothing major,” said Thornhill. 

Andrew Richardson is the Director of Education for the museum, and he also serves as its Agency Information Technology Resource (AITR). “The VITA and NTT Data staff were incredibly helpful and ready to answer any questions during the entire process, pre-through-post migration. The migration hub and ‘Train the Trainer’ manual were incredibly helpful and chock full of information.”  

Microsoft is hosting free lunch-and-learn sessions to help users become familiar with Microsoft applications. Click on these links to register: 

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 protecting your identity.

When you log on to a website, make an online payment, send an email, use a social network, post online or even send a text, you're adding to your online identity. In today’s world, it is unavoidable. The good news is there are ways you can protect yourself. 

Read information security tips.