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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Hosts 2021 Massachusetts Virtual Digital Government Summit

 Baker-Polito Administration Hosts 2021 Massachusetts Virtual Digital Government Summit 

Technology and cybersecurity leaders from state and municipal government and the private sector gathered virtually to promote best practices and spur innovation in the public sector  

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration, in partnership with Government Technology, hosted the 2021 Massachusetts Virtual Digital Government Summit, an annual conference geared toward networking opportunities and the sharing of best practices to enhance technology and cybersecurity services across the public sector. With a focus on the ‘future of work’ in adapting how the business of government is executed, the Summit offered attendees from state and municipal government with a valuable opportunity to build vital relationships with industry leaders and learn about innovative solutions for the challenges governments face in an increasingly digital world. 

Held virtually for the second consecutive year, the Summit included remarks from Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood, as well as ‘technology change agents’ well versed in adapting to the rapid and disruptive changes presented by the shift to a remote workforce. Attendees participated in concurrent breakout sessions with expert panels presenting on navigating the cyber threat landscape, the impacts of automation, and the importance of connectivity in a new era of ‘remote everything’. 

“Technology has become even more fully integrated into the fabric of our lives these past eighteen months and will only increase going forward,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Events like the annual Digital Government Summit bring public and private partners together to help improve the citizen digital experience and to enable more efficient and intuitive interactions with state and local government for critical services.” 

“We find ourselves at a transformational moment that has highlighted the importance of technology investments at the state and local level,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Ensuring continuity of essential government services to the Commonwealth’s many residents, businesses, and visitors remains a top priority for our Administration.” 

The timing of the Summit is especially poignant, coming in the same week that the President signed into law legislation that authorized a $1 billion State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, providing much-needed funding to state and municipal governments that increasingly find themselves the targets of cyber criminals attempting to disrupt essential government services and extort taxpayer dollars through ransomware attacks. The legislation stipulates that 80% of the funding is required to be dedicated to municipalities to enhance their cybersecurity defenses, with at least 25% of that funding earmarked for rural communities that often lack the resources for dedicated IT and cybersecurity personnel. 

Building on the Administration’s strong partnerships with municipalities, the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) recently announced the opening of the 2022 Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Grant Program. Now in its second year, over 62,000 municipal and public school employees across the Commonwealth have enrolled in the program, gaining access to critical end-user training, evaluations, and threat simulations to improve their ability to identify and avoid traps laid by cyber attackers seeking to gain access to government IT networks and sensitive data of its constituents. 

“We have faced many challenges over the past year and a half – forcing us to continually innovate and often times reinvent the way we carry out the business of state government in order to keep our citizen-centric services running,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood. “I commend the state and local government technology and cybersecurity leaders gathered here today, as you all have risen to the occasion and met the moment head on.” 

“We are beyond pleased to partner with the Baker-Polito Administration in hosting the 27th annual Massachusetts Digital Government Summit,” said Government Technology Magazine Vice President Jack Mortimer. “This conference brings together the best minds in technology and cybersecurity to share best practices, celebrate successes, and discuss creative ways to leverage technology throughout the Commonwealth.” 

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