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Virginia names Michael Watson its new chief information security officer

Michael Watson,
Virginia's new CISO

Michael Watson has been named the Commonwealth of Virginia’s new chief information security officer. He also will serve as the director of security at the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA).

In his new position, Watson is charged with defending and protecting the Commonwealth’s information technology (IT) systems and data, including citizen data kept by the state. He also will develop and enforce security policies that all state agencies must follow. Watson has served in an acting capacity since July 2011.

In making the announcement, the chief information officer for the Commonwealth, Sam Nixon, said, “I am pleased that Mike Watson has accepted this position and will lead our security efforts. While serving in an acting capacity, he displayed a breadth of knowledge about state government IT and security that will serve the commonwealth well. We are fortunate to have him in this role.”

Watson previously served as senior manager of IT risk management at VITA. He has more than 15 years of experience in IT security. He holds a graduate degree in telecommunications, with a focus on security and management from the University of Pennsylvania. He has an undergraduate degree in computer science from James Madison University and is a certified information systems security professional, incident handler, intrusion analyst and information systems auditor.