County of Marin - News Releases - CSAC Award

For Immediate Release
January 29, 2020

State Association Honors County for Info Security

Agency recognizes Marin for its digital upgrades and transparency

San Rafael, CA – One of the most innovative tech security programs among California’s 58 counties is right here in Marin. That’s the determination of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), which bestowed an honor on Marin’s Department of Information Services and Technology (IST) on January 28.

From left, Jason Balderama and Liza Massey from the Marin County Department of Information Services and Technology and Darby Kernan of the California State Association of Counties.From left, Jason Balderama and Liza Massey from the Marin County Department of Information Services and Technology (IST) and Darby Kernan of the California State Association of Counties.

IST used a combination of technology and internal culture change to address security threats from external sources. It saved the County $240,000 annually by upgrading security technology and made employees more aware of cyberthreats.

During the Marin County Board of Supervisors meeting, CSAC Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs Darby Kernan presented the County a Challenge Award in the Government Finance, Administration and Technology classification for the security campaign. Chief Information Officer Liza Massey and Chief Information Security Officer Jason Balderama accepted the award.

“Cyberattacks and data breaches are becoming increasingly common and serve as a reminder to everyone why exercising security best practices is so important,” Balderama said. “Going forward, the County of Marin Information Security Team will continue its efforts to educate employees, support technology platforms, and improve the overall security posture of the County.”

Balderama said the team in 2020 will focus on establishing a security ambassador program with representation from multiple County departments, completing disaster recovery plans, and engaging with Marin residents through a variety of outreach programs.

In July 2019, Marin IST captured a national award for its efforts to digitize information for both residents and employees and to increase online interaction between those two groups. Also, the County celebrated National CyberSecurity Awareness Month in October 2019 by hosting brown-bag sessions and other employee activities.

IST’s five-year Strategic Plan centers on security and the department — reorganized last year — has tripled its security resources. With support from the County’s Human Resources Department, IST initiated mandatory training to educate employees on information security best practices that were reinforced through information security newsletters and e-mail communications.

Recognizing that e-mail scams are one of the top causes of security breaches, IST conducted monthly mock phishing exercises to determine the types of scams to which employees were most susceptible. The security team started hands-on training for “frequent clickers” to further educate employees that security is everyone’s responsibility. As internal mock phishing expeditions continue, employees can report suspicious emails via a tool implemented last year.

CSAC honored 51 programs from 27 counties after reviewing 284 entries in its annual recognition competition. Marin IST was one of 16 programs earning Challenge Awards.

CSAC was formed in 1911 to represent county governments before the California Legislature, administrative agencies, and the federal government. CSAC places a strong emphasis on educating the public about the value and need for county programs and services.


Liza Massey
Chief Information Officer
Information Services and Technology Department

1600 Los Gamos Drive
Suite 370
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7050
Email: Liza Massey
IST webpage