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For Immediate Release:

Contact For More Information:
Andrea M. Gaines
(804) 864-8928
Andrea.Gaines@elections.virginia.gov

Virginia Department of Elections CIO/CISO Wins Award for Strengthening The Commonwealth’s Cybersecurity

RICHMOND, Va. -- Daniel Persico, CISM, CDPSE, Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at the Virginia Department of Elections, has received the Founders Award from the Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing & Networking (VASCAN).

The award recognizes Persico’s creation of an Information Security program at the Department of Elections with the vision of promoting information security throughout the Commonwealth’s agencies and local governments through setting and supporting elections security requirements. After the General Assembly passed HB2178, authorizing the creation of security standards for elections, he oversaw the establishment of these election cybersecurity Minimum Security Standards. When many localities could not meet these standards, he began searching for a way to bridge the gap without funding - and began developing a Cyber Navigator program that has been rolled out to localities and recently completed its pilot course with students from Virginia Tech. The course and the program are now supported by a University of Virginia grant to train undergraduate and graduate level students in computer science at Virginia universities.

“While the Cyber Navigator program stems from elections, Persico’s vision was always to promote locality security and introduce data privacy as a necessary component of government cyber security through the elections infrastructure,” said Christopher Piper, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections. “His concept, now being realized, is that local governments establish security programs to protect their local elections offices, data and systems. Once protected, the locality can more easily expand those practices to other locality agencies and departments. This is critical for small and medium sized localities that lack resources related to information security.”

The Virginia Alliance for Secure Computing and Networking (VASCAN) exists for the purpose of strengthening information technology security programs within the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VASCAN Founders Award (formerly the Shirley Payne IT Security Advancement Award) is given to an IT security professional, manager or auditor who has contributed to the Virginia information security community in a notable way, or who joined the community and exhibited an admirable commitment to developing in themselves and others the necessary skills to execute and advance an effective information security program.

For more information about the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) visit https://www.elections.virginia.gov/voter-ed/, call (800) 552-9745, or email the department at info@elections.virginia.gov. Voters are also encouraged to follow us on Twitter at @vaElect, Facebook at @VirginiaELECT, and Instagram at @va_election.   

 

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