Two Virginia Tech students worked with Floyd County’s chief information officer over the summer to write policies and plans for a variety of county cybersecurity needs.
Zoe Lyons and Brian Kim presented some of their findings to the Floyd County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 13 after 10 weeks of working alongside IT director Christopher McNabb.
McNabb said the interns spent about 300 hours each on the project throughout the summer, and he put in between 800 and 900 hours.
County Administrator Dr Linda Millsaps noted that the September 13 presentation was just a taste of all the work that had been done, with the final report totaling more than 400 pages.
McNabb said the project was originally intended to bring the Floyd County Board of Elections into compliance with local election security standards, but quickly evolved into policies that could also be implemented in the county level.
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Lyons and Kim said some of the policies are still ongoing as they require legal consultation; however, McNabb said, “some of them could be implemented tomorrow.”
Some of the plans written include data management and classification, disaster recovery, personnel security management standards, and physical environment security.
Lyons and Kim said they attended an election board meeting during their internship, took inventory of voter equipment, assessed county building security measures and more, under the guidance of McNabb and the Registrar. of Floyd County voter Amy Ingram.
The baseline policies developed by Lyons and Kim, McNabb said, establish a foundation that can be implemented across county departments where cybersecurity policies did not previously exist.
The main challenges the county currently faces, in terms of finishing and implementing drafted plans, center around time and resources, McNabb said. It will also require someone to monitor and maintain the policies and measures put in place.
“Chris definitely needs an assistant,” Lyons and Kim agreed, and the board said they would discuss the matter next budget season.
Chairman Joe Turman said the board “was blessed” to add McNabb to the team, and he’s sure Lyon and Kim were too.
“They did an incredible amount of work for us,” McNabb said.
Both Lyons and Kim are VT seniors, slated to graduate in December and this spring, respectively. They both specialize in enterprise information technology with a concentration in cybersecurity.
Kim is from Northern Virginia and comes from a family of computer scientists. He said working in rural Floyd County was an eye-opening experience.
Lyons was born in California and her family also lives in NoVa.