Minneapolis, MN., Wednesday, October 11, 2023 — The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has named Illinois CISO Adam Ford as the recipient of the 2023 Thomas M. Jarrett State Cybersecurity Leadership Award. The program was created to pay homage to Thomas M. Jarrett, past president of NASCIO (2004 – 2005), for his passion for cybersecurity and honors state chief information security officers (CISOs) for exceptional accomplishments in their field. This award evolved from the Thomas M. Jarrett Cybersecurity Scholarship, being renamed in 2020 to reflect the vital role state CISOs hold in state cybersecurity efforts and their deeper involvement with NASCIO.
Adam has been Illinois CISO since 2019 and has played a crucial role in promoting cybersecurity, advancing the state’s cybersecurity posture and implementing best practices. Specifically, Adam has:
• Enhanced the state’s cybersecurity infrastructure by leveraging cutting-edge technologies and implementing robust security frameworks.
• Collaborated with stakeholders and developed comprehensive cybersecurity practices and implemented strong security controls, encryption protocols and access management systems to safeguard data and networks.
• Led initiatives to enforce multi-factor authentication for network and system access, and is driving efforts to transition the state’s network to a zero-trust architecture.
• Actively fostered public-private partnerships, which has resulted in improved information sharing, joint training exercises and coordinated responses to cyber incidents.
• Established robust incident response plans and regularly conducts exercises and simulations to test the state’s readiness in the face of cyber incidents.
• Advocated for swift and coordinated responses to minimize the impact of breaches and restore services rapidly.
In his nomination of Adam, Illinois CIO Sanjay Gupta wrote, “Throughout his tenure, Adam Ford’s unwavering commitment to promoting a culture of cybersecurity, advancing the state’s cybersecurity posture and implementing best practices has been evident. His visionary leadership and tireless efforts have positioned Illinois as a model for other states, demonstrating how to build a resilient and secure digital ecosystem.”
To view past recipients of the Thomas M. Jarrett State Cybersecurity Leadership Award, visit nascio.org/awards.
Deputy Executive Director
National Association of State Chief Information Officers