The Edmond Sun

Opinion

December 2, 2013

The parallel counterpart to HealthCare.gov

GUTHRIE — This year I have witnessed the quickest deployment and implementation of a major state governmental process that I have ever seen. I think this success provides the ideal state counterpart example to the shortcomings demonstrated by the federal HealthCare.gov website.

In years past, hundreds of thousands of electronic government records containing the personal data of Oklahoma taxpayers were lost or stolen. Following these failures, state legislators advanced a plan whereby the information technology operations of Oklahoma’s many state government agencies would be consolidated. There were two primary reasons given for the consolidation; the first was cost savings and the second was security. We felt that if the resources of the agencies were combined, the capabilities would be greatly improved. It simply didn’t make sense for each agency to segregate and silo resources into security operations that obviously were not working.

Earlier this year, the consolidated IT operation launched its security operation center. Amazingly, the SOC’s deployment occurred just two months after its specifics were envisioned.

State government networks are under frequent attack from foreign and domestic enemies who would seek to steal government information. In the past, security resources were divided among the countless state agencies. There was likely very little real-time monitoring, and by the time an intrusion was detected, any compromised data would have been long gone. In fact, the intrusion may not have ever been detected because IT officials would have been forced to pick and choose from thousands of interactions just to figure out what to audit.

Now all of this has changed. Oklahoma’s new consolidated IT operation developed a minimal cost in-house solution that integrates security reporting capabilities from multiple software programs. This allows SOC to provide 24-7 real-time monitoring. When a significant intrusion attempt occurs, an alarm signals to warn the monitoring officials. The details of the intrusion appear on big screens within the SOC for all to see. In the past, it might have been days before IT officials would have seen the intrusion attempt. Now they see it as it happens.

This new operation appears to be unlike any other in the nation. Oklahoma IT employees have now become a leading identifier of those parties who are attacking government systems. This valuable intelligence is distributed nationwide so that other government officials can quickly identify attacks on their systems. This has significant national security implications because American government networks are constantly under attack from foreign nations.

There are numerous other benefits to this monitoring. For example, these systems track use of state government computers and their online interactions. They quickly aggregate data like the sites that are visited by government employees. This allows IT employees to notice if state computers have been compromised. Interestingly, the aggregated stats also show that many of the most utilized web-based applications appear not to be work-related and have not escaped the notice of legislators. This could have helpful implications as we strive for efficiencies within state agencies. More on that later.

I have been accustomed to the painstakingly slow process by which new government processes are deployed. The SOC deployment is an amazing exception to this rule. I believe it represents an excellent example of the changing culture brought about by IT consolidation and the state officials who are charged with making it happen. It hasn’t always been easy, but a new culture of effectiveness and efficiency is starting to produce tangible results.

REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at jason.murphey@okhouse.gov.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results