Oklahoma CISO Matt Singleton wins 2022 StateScoop 50 Award for State Leadership
By Destiny Washington
Congratulations to Oklahoma Chief Information Security Officer Matt Singleton, head of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services Cyber Command team, who recently won the 2022 StateScoop 50 Award for State Leadership.
Each year, the StateScoop 50 Awards honor the best and brightest across the nation who make state government more efficient and effective, celebrating their tireless efforts to make a positive impact in public service.
“Something I’m really passionate about is fostering a cybersecurity culture throughout Oklahoma’s workforce, and it’s not limited to state employees,” said Singleton. “We’re trying to raise the level of cybersecurity expertise across the state.”
Over the last year and a half, Singleton’s strategy has transformed cybersecurity for the State of Oklahoma.
“Singleton’s leadership has helped OMES create a world-class cybersecurity program in Oklahoma,” said Chief Information Officer Jerry Moore. “This award recognizes Singleton’s efforts and our mission to serve Oklahomans. He is truly an example of our Get Stuff Done spirit at OMES."
After joining OMES, Singleton helped 110 state agencies transition to enterprise technology service, realizing over $875 million in cost savings. His insistence on forward progress is imperative to the role.
“From my standpoint, momentum is a valuable resource in any organization,” Singleton said. “In the public sector, I would argue it’s probably the most valuable resource.”
In the wake of COVID-19’s workforce disruption, Singleton piloted an initiative to empower every state employee to work from anywhere – remote, in the office or hybrid – by embracing a zero-trust cybersecurity model. The zero-trust model employs continual identity verification to access the state network and its information.
“At one point we had two of everything – the Noah’s Ark of IT,” said Singleton. “As we consolidated those with an enterprise-class standard we’ve completely changed the cybersecurity posture of the State of Oklahoma over the past 18 months.”
By implementing a zero-trust approach and rolling out platforms that seamlessly integrate with each other, the State of Oklahoma enabled 30,000 employees to securely work remotely throughout the pandemic.
“We used to have employees using state assets behind a ‘castle wall’ on secure networks,” Singleton said.
To respond, the state set up the Oklahoma Information Sharing and Analysis Center to shift its cybersecurity strategy from a castle-and-moat approach to a community responsibility. Since its inception in late 2020, OK-ISAC has built a network of Oklahoma organizations, business leaders and cybersecurity professionals to spread education and amplify security across the state, region and nation.
“Before OK-ISAC, we had a few organizations that had threat intelligence expertise, but it was very siloed,” said Singleton.
The zero-trust cybersecurity model ensures Oklahoma state agencies can provide citizen services, become 100% digitally enabled, save approximately $370 million in IT expenses and address business continuity. All this while simultaneously supporting the state’s overall efforts to attract and retain talent in a challenging employment environment.