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Data Security is Top Priority of Utah’s New Tech Services Director

Andrea Smardon
Retiring Executive Director of Utah Department of Technology Services Mark VanOrden talks with his replacement Mike Hussey at the Utah State Capitol. (Oct. 19, 2015)

The official who stepped in to lead the Utah Department of Technology Services after a massive health data breach is retiring.

Mark VanOrden was tapped as executive director of the state’s technology services in 2012. The previous director Stephen Fletcher was asked to resign after a security breach exposed the personal data of 780,000 Utahns. VanOrden feels good about the work that’s been accomplished with current staff, but he says the threat is always there, with 100 million attacks per day on state data.

“We’re much better prepared than we were three and a half years ago, but no way I can guarantee we’ll never be breached again,” VanOrden says.

Replacing VanOrden is Mike Hussey, formerly the information technology manager in the same department.

“Information security is my number one priority,” Hussey says. “When I get into this position, that’s the first thing I’ll do is evaluate those systems.”

Hussey was part of the IT team under former Governor Mike Leavitt. He’s worked at the University of Utah, helping to create the largest CD-ROM database network in the nation. He also helped develop software to centralize a statewide voter database. Governor Gary Herbert says he’s confident that Hussey can fill VanOrden’s large shoes.

“I think we have the right people in place to make sure that we protect data, we protect people’s personal information here in the state of Utah, and we’re doing it as well if not better than any place in America today, but we have room to improve,” Herbert says. “We’ll expect Mike to find those opportunities for improvement as we move forward.”

Hussey will continue the department’s efforts to increase efficiency across 22 state agencies. He will also be working with the Utah Technology Council and the private sector to foster growth of technology companies in the state.

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