Consolidating IT services in state government

DES MOINES — The governor’s budget director says he’ll ask legislators to create an I-T division with his department.

The Office of Chief Information Officer merged with the Iowa Department of Management in 2022 and Department of Management director Kraig Paulsen has already brought most of the IT staff from across state government into his agency. Paulsen says the consolidation is dramatically improving the state’s cybersecurity efforts. “Perhaps most importantly, we’re providing real-time visibility into threats and risks that we can rapidly respond to the cyber event, regardless of the agency or the system where it originated,” Paulsen says. “Collectively, this represents a huge leap forward in how we’re protecting the information of all Iowans.”

Paulsen says he eliminated 55 open IT positions within state government.

Doug Jacobson, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Iowa State University, says it makes perfect sense to centralize IT functions, as it gives the state better ability to monitor threats, but Jacobsen says top officials need to make sure every employee in state government is aware of potential security issues. “When you centralize like that, you need to make a little more concerted effort to make sure that the organization continues to have that culture that everyone has a role in security,” Jacobsen says.

Legislators and Governor Terry Branstad created the Office of Chief Information Officer as an independent state agency in 2013 and made it responsible for technology services in state government. It’s also been responsible for distributing federal funds to expand broadband service in Iowa.