Audit: State Lacks Good Computer Security ; Audit: 353 Systems Contain Sensitive Data

By Marso, Andy | The Topeka Capital-Journal, July 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

Audit: State Lacks Good Computer Security ; Audit: 353 Systems Contain Sensitive Data


Marso, Andy, The Topeka Capital-Journal


The state's lack of computer security may make citizens' personal information vulnerable, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The state's internal auditors described information technology security as a longstanding problem in Kansas government, and legislators on the Legislative Post Audit Committee asked the state's information technology agency to provide an estimate of what it would cost to implement the auditors' recommendations.

"It's time that we really address this," said Rep. Peggy Mast, R- Emporia.

Mast said the Legislature should have "serious hearings" about the state's ability to protect sensitive information within agency computer systems.

The audit determined that 75 state agencies are running 353 computer systems that contain sensitive data.

By law, agencies are required to submit three-year information technology plans, but auditors determined that not all agencies were following that law because "agencies think they are time consuming and provide little value to them."

The audit also found little oversight of that requirement, noting that the state's "Chief Information Technology Architect did not follow up on missing plans, and in one year did not send necessary templates and instructions to all agencies."

The audit also determined that 17 of the 45 agencies that hold data considered "high risk" had not had an independent evaluation of their security in the past three years.

Anthony Schlinsog, director of the state's Office of Information Technology Services, was not available to answer questions Tuesday. John Byers, the office's chief information security officer, said the office struggles to find enough computer security experts in Topeka.

Compliance requirements prohibit his office from outsourcing security work to the private sector, so Byers said his agency would have to look to recruit experts from outside the area and bring them to Topeka. …

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