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LaRose Wins Cybersecurity Difference Maker Award

COLUMBUS – Today the SANS Institute, the global leader in cyber security training and certifications, announced Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose as one of the winners of the SANS 2020 Difference Makers Awards. This prestigious annual awards program honors individuals and teams in the cybersecurity community who have made a measurable and significant difference in security. Through their implementation of security processes or technology, each winner has raised the bar in enabling secure business operations and reducing risk.

"I’m honored to receive this on behalf of hundreds of election officials throughout the state as well as our world class cybersecurity team," said LaRose. "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and that is why we never fall into a ‘mission accomplished’ mindset. We are not resting -- we are innovating to make sure Ohio continues leading on election cybersecurity so that voters can be confident that their voice is heard."

Video thumbnail of SANS 2020 Difference Makers

In their citation for Secretary LaRose’s award, SANS stated:

During these challenging times, Frank LaRose played a proactive and pivotal role in ensuring that election security was a top priority across Ohio. He authorized a statewide rollout of Albert, the MultiState ISAC network monitoring and managing service on-premise for Ohio's Election systems. Frank was part of the team that mandated the CIS Controls be adopted across all County & Elections entities.

Secretary LaRose has prioritized cybersecurity since day one, making Ohio a national leader in election security. In 2019, he advocated for and won unanimous passage of legislation that created a first-of-its-kind civilian Cyber-Reserve force. He then issued a special security directive to Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections with requirements for managing potential cyber threats, creating a model which other states have followed. Those requirements were improved upon this year with the 2020 Election Security & Accessibility Directive, cementing Ohio’s position as the national leader in election security. Then in August, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued the nation’s first state elections system Vulnerability Disclosure Policy, inviting outside researchers to inspect the Secretary of State’s website for vulnerabilities.

Of the 17 award winners this year, John Pescatore, SANS Director of Emerging Security Trends, said "the common denominator was their willingness and ability to do what SANS calls 'Fight the good fight' in advancing the state of practice in cybersecurity."

The full list of 2020 SANS Institute Difference Maker Award winners can be found on their website.