New York State ITS Recognizes Cyber Security Champion Award Winners

Contact Information: 
Alicia Biggs
Three Individuals Honored at the 22nd Annual Cyber Security Conference
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Albany, NY - The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) today announced three individuals as the recipients of the State Cyber Security Champion Award for their significant contributions to support and enhance cyber security in New York. The winners were honored at the 22nd Annual New York State Cyber Security Conference on June 4 to help kick-off the two-day event.

"It is my pleasure to congratulate this year's Cyber Security Champion Award winners, who work diligently to keep our state and our critical information safe," said Robert H. Samson, New York State Chief Information Officer. "New York State is fortunate to be home to many talented cyber security professionals who are passionate about protecting our critical assets. Cyber security is a shared responsibility, and their efforts help New York remain a leader in this ever-evolving field. Thank you to the award winners for your dedication!"

"Our New York State Cyber Security Champions work hard each day to strengthen our cyber security protections, and we are grateful for their contributions," said New York State Chief Information Security Officer Deborah Snyder. "Congratulations and thank you to all of our award winners!"

Dr. Guillermo Linares, President of the Higher Education Services Corporation, said, "Warren Wallin has spent his entire public service career, nearly 36 years, at HESC.  Throughout that time, he has led several divisions and spearheaded numerous projects, helping administer financial aid programs benefitting hundreds of thousands of New York State students effectively and efficiently and in a secure cyber environment. HESC is honored to have one of our own receive this award."

Congratulations to the 2019 New York State Cyber Security Champions:

Warren Wallin, Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). Mr. Wallin was recognized for his commitment to the information security field by undertaking initiatives at HESC including information classification, security incident response, data loss prevention monitoring, and the development of information security policies and procedures. Despite wearing many hats for HESC, Mr. Wallin is dedicated to improving the overall security posture of HESC and New York State and his efforts are leading to a more secure environment.

Karen Pratt, Chief Information Security Officer, Washington County. Ms. Pratt was honored for being a true champion of cyber security and a staunch advocate for implementing best practices. Ms. Pratt has used the New York State Local Government Cyber Security Toolkit and its various components to build awareness, assess Washington County's security posture, and secure funding for cyber initiatives. Ms. Pratt's efforts and leadership in cyber security are making a difference.

Andrew Levine, Manager Information Technology Services 1, ITS.  Mr. Levine was honored for his leadership and direction in implementing important security initiatives including standardizing access control and implementing new procedures to reduce stale accounts. In each aspect of his work, Mr. Levine looks for opportunities to integrate security as part of the business, helping to improve the overall security posture for New York State.

In addition to the awards, the conference features more than 50 sessions, many of them including interactive discussions led by subject matter experts in government and private industry.

For more information on the 22nd Annual New York State Cyber Security Conference, visit the conference website. For highlights of the event, follow us on Twitter .

About ITS

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) was created in 2012 to transform IT services in an effort to make New York State government work smarter for its citizens and enable the state to be accessible for businesses through the use of technology. ITS provides statewide IT strategic direction, directs IT policy and delivers centralized IT products and services that support the mission of the State. ITS operates data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support statewide mission-critical applications for over 50 Agencies, over 17 million citizen accounts, 120,000 employee accounts, 60,000 phones, 99,000 desktops and laptops, and 3,433 Virtual Desktop remote connections. ITS operates a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber to deliver telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing to State government entities in addition to developing new services in support of citizens, businesses and State Agencies.

For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @nysits.