Science & Technology
4:30 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Information Technology: Securing Privacy

State lawmakers have been learning more about how the Virginia Information Technologies Agency protects and oversees the Commonwealth's most sensitive databases.  

They're finding out that while Medicaid expansion is supposed to help benefit those who need services, the state might not be prepared for the influx of data the expansion would bring with it.

Chief Information Officer Sam Nixon tells the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission that potential vulnerabilities always exist within the system.

Whether it's a worker who loses a laptop with sensitive information on it, or a hacker trying to infiltrate a state agency, they must have a dedicated team of IT professionals to respond.

By incorporating Medicaid expansion—and with it, sensitive IRS, Department of Taxation, Social Security, and medical files—the workload increases significantly. But Nixon says 25 to 30 percent of the people within the agency are contractors.
 
One of the questions lawmakers must ponder is how the state can pay for more dedicated staff.  And since Medicaid expansion is part of a federal law, they want to know if funds for I-T are available through the federal government that could help mitigate the costs.