VITA head talks about major changes to Commonweath's IT services

VITA head talks about major changes to Commonweath's IT services
Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - From spam emails to that cloaked figure you imagine trying to hack into agencies, Virginia IT folks battled their fair share of attempted cyber threats this year.

"The opportunity to do harm is getting more and more wide spread." Just one of many reasons Nelson Moe would like to shake up how the state runs its IT division. A 13 year, $1.3 billion contract with Virginia's Northup Grumman is coming to an end.

"Technology changes very rapidly and the contract has done its job. It's time for us to move on to a much more agile and flexible environment," said Moe.

Moe is the state's chief information officer and head of VITA, the agency responsible for the email and IT services of several agencies in Virginia's government, including the DMV, VDOT, the Governor's Office and Virginia's Department of Elections.

You deal with VITA daily and may not even know it. For instance, if the DMV website crashes or the service center computers go down, it's because VITA's had some sort of failure. VITA will work to get everything back up and running.

Northup Grumman took over the state's IT in 2006 under then-governor Mark Warner. The company's invested over $300 million - modernizing Virginia's IT infrastructure.

Northrup Grumman has publicly criticized the Commonwealth in letters over its plans to divide up IT services between several different service providers. The company believes it weakens cyber security for the Commonwealth and will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Virginia has fired back in several letters and a few lawmakers have even suggested the Commonwealth 'lawyer up'.

"It's a dust up, but it's something we're working through with Northrop Grumman. We'll get past it. They are a strategic partner in Virginia."

Virginia believes the move will ultimately save money. Moe is confident it's a risk worth taking.

"The opportunity going forward vastly outweighs the opportunity we have now."

Moe says it's good the state started this process now, three years early, so it can work out the kinks as it changes providers. He says they'll tackle issue as they arise, but he doesn't expect massive service outages.

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