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Ripple effect of OMES Cyber Command Security Provisioning

Original Posting Date: January 24, 2022

Oklahoma has over 130 state agencies providing state services to nearly 4 million residents. Cyber Command, part of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services Information Services division, protects our state agencies and information assets. Their top priority is safeguarding state data and computer infrastructure against unauthorized data use, disclosure, modification, damage and loss.

Integral in their role of providing access to state data and technology tools for state employees is the OMES Cyber Command Security Provisioning team.  

Most people are unaware of the critical role security provisioning plays in securing Oklahoma agencies. Krista Cahill, Security Provisioning supervisor, describes the work as an opportunity to facilitate an environment in which services are provided to state employees. Her team reviews access permissions for state employees and grants access to the tools they need to do their day-to-day jobs – providing services to citizens.

“It’s a ripple effect,” Cahill said. “We help safeguard access to state government tools for state employees, which in turn helps to protect Oklahomans’ data. Everything that security does is for all of Oklahoma. Not just agencies, not OMES, but every Oklahoman. It’s something most people may not even realize.”

Many of the tools they help review access for are required for agencies to perform their jobs. It can affect child support and welfare at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the Public Health Lab for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, driver’s license services at the Department of Public Safety, and even the lifeguard by the pool at one of our many state parks.

“We’re providing the resources for state employees to get their work done to serve the citizens,” said Chance Grubb, Senior Staff Officer for OMES Cyber Command.

OMES Cyber Command was forced to adapt to unprecedented circumstances as public health measures were put in place at the start of the pandemic. A result of these circumstances was the increase of access requests and the need for extra help. From November 2020 to November 2021, the number of requests created and closed increased by 122%. This increase made the team take a good look at the level of security they were providing and decide they needed to do more.

To address the influx of pandemic-related requests, the team grew from 10 to 16 employees. In addition to that, the team transformed their process to include cross-training for data analysts and security provisioning. After joining forces with Cyber Command Operations, the overall team grew to 28 employees that now review and provision access 24/7/365.

Combining provisioning with analytics helped the team learn all the functions needed to provide the right access to state employees. With a more rounded skill set, this newly formed team now has the capability to staff a 24/7/365 operation as well as improve the average resolution time to four days or less.

Teamwork made all this possible. “Now, when we have a big surge of [service] tickets, everyone can jump in and make a real team effort,” Grubb said.

Oklahoma OMES Cyber Command provides critical services for our state, and it is important they have the right people in place for their important mission. The team is constantly evolving, and their top priority is to continue to increase training as well as collaborate with other security teams.