HARRISBURG – Legislation that would create the new “Office of Information Technology” and require cybersecurity best practices across state agencies received the approval of the Senate of Pennsylvania today, according to Senators Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), who sponsored the measure.
“The state’s information technology spend combined equates to the fourth largest state agency with more than $1.2 billion expended every year,” Phillips-Hill said. “We know our reliance on technology will only continue to grow and this forward-thinking effort prioritizes our state’s IT with a vision toward the future, as well as will put in place protocols to best protect the sensitive data state agencies store.”
“Cyberattacks and data breaches are a growing concern as our society continues to rely more heavily on technology, and particularly since the pandemic facilitated a swift transition to virtual work,” Aument said. “Consolidating the state’s IT will ensure that our digital assets are managed more efficiently and safely, with the ability to identify and eliminate any threats to sensitive information more quickly.”
The lawmakers cited continual data breaches within state agencies impacting Pennsylvanians as a need to make these substantial reforms.
Under the measure, the Office of Administration would house the Office of Information Technology (OIT). The role of the OIT would be to establish a strategic plan for future IT projects across state government, as well as manage and maintain all future IT procurement within state agencies.
The OIT would also be tasked with implementing cybersecurity standards for state government and provide recommendations how to future-proof Commonwealth IT assets.
The legislation is the result of public testimony to review best practices in other states, as well as feedback from the state’s Chief Information Officer.
“It is clear that the status quo is not working, and it is certainly not protecting the very sensitive data that the people of Pennsylvania have stored within state agencies,” the lawmakers added.
The legislation advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Chloe Mandara (Phillips-Hill)
Stephanie Applegate (Aument)