Bismarck, ND | Chief Information Officer (CIO) Shawn Riley congratulated Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Kevin Ford today for being recognized by Government Technology as one of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers of 2021. The award highlights the exceptional work of people who tirelessly leverage technology to make government better serve the citizen.
Gov. Doug Burgum, who previously won the award in 2020, congratulated Ford on the achievement, “Since last legislative session, Kevin’s efforts have helped advance a unified cybersecurity strategy for the State of North Dakota, and we’re seeing the benefits of that strategy today when foreign actors are targeting our rural areas,” Burgum said.
“Defending 252,000 endpoints at any given time isn’t an easy task,” Riley said. “Kevin Ford has made North Dakota a leader in cyberoperations, partnering with public and private sector organizations to offer world-class tools showing the efficiency of standardized and unified service.”
Kevin gave credit to the small cybersecurity group -covering a vast expanse of endpoints compared to industry standards-consisting of 17 highly skilled team members, which has managed to adapt, automate and leverage the power of partnerships. Last year, Ford announced that K-12 schools were eligible for next-generation anti-malware at not cost to protect students. The offer was also given to cities and counties ahead of the elections.
In order to educate the public sector on the dangers of cyberspace, Ford launched a statewide awareness campaign called DefeND. The website contains educational videos, which include themes on phishing, vulnerabilities associated with weak or re-used passwords, and dangers of sharing information online. The holiday ad, a nod to Charles Dickens’ classic “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,“ received a Gold Addy and the overall campaign received a Silver Addy during the annual American Advertising Federation Awards held February 26. They are available on NDIT’s YouTube channel.
“I’m honored to be awarded a place in the Government Technology Top 25! We’ve made headway implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating students and family members and training employees, keeping our interconnected world safer and more resilient for everyone,” said Ford.