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Florida names new CISO amid struggles to keep cybersecurity staff

Florida names new CISO amid struggles to keep cybersecurity staff
Written by publishing team

Written by Benjamin Fried

Florida’s chief information officer, James Grant, announced in a press release this week that the state has appointed Jeremy Rodgers, a longtime technology industry expert and veteran of US Cyber ​​Command, as the state’s new chief information security officer.

Rodgers will join Florida Digital Service, the one-and-a-half-year-old agency that Grant has led since August 2020, at a time when it has struggled to retain key staff, including several cybersecurity employees who have left their six-figure salaries in recent months.

A press release from the Florida Department of Management Services, the parent agency of Florida Digital Services, stated that “Rodgers’ 20+ years of experience in the industry will be invaluable in expanding cybersecurity initiatives in Florida.” According to the release, Rodgers spent decades at an “international information technology company,” as well as 10 years in the US Navy Reserve, which included a stint with Cyber ​​Command in Fort Meade, Maryland, where he served as Operations Mission Commander.

Florida officials did not respond to requests for comment on Rodgers’ appointment, and while the press release did not identify Rodgers’ private sector employer, his description of his experience matches the LinkedIn profile of Jeremy Rodgers – who lives in Boca Raton – who has worked for IBM in a variety of Software Engineering and Cyber ​​Security roles since 2001, most recently as Public Sector Security Engineer.

“The depth and breadth of Jeremy’s experience makes him uniquely qualified to lead our cybersecurity team and implement additional innovations across the organization,” Grant said in the press release.

Florida Digital Service has struggled to retain employees since its inception, particularly those working in the cybersecurity field. The agency was created after the state’s fourth reorganization of IT governance since 2005. While the agency—originally envisioned to be a US Digital Service-like user experience store—was also given oversight over the state’s cybersecurity functions last year, according to the Ward continued to default in this area.

The Miami Herald reported last month that Florida Digital Service had failed to spend any of the $30 million state lawmakers authorized last year to assess threats, strengthen infrastructure and e-health training, even though Grant has spent nearly $400,000. On decorating a cybersecurity office with new furniture and 4K touch screens.

Like Grant, who resigned from the Florida House of Representatives in 2020 to lead the Florida Digital Service, Rodgers is also a former politician, having served as deputy mayor and city councilman in Boca Raton.

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