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PRITS bets on innovation, cybersecurity to streamline gov’t processes

Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Services (PRITS) Executive Director Nannette Martínez said 2022 served as “the foundation” for the government agency to run several initiatives and projects, making way for the strengthening of digital systems and platforms used by the local government.

Currently, PRITS has an organizational structure that “has two key concepts” that seek to support the agency’s main goals and purposes, including a “safe and citizen-centered technology,” and the collaboration between different government entities, she said.

“These concepts are the protagonists in all the initiatives that we have managed to implement since last year, as well as those that are in the development and launch stage, always seeking to identify goals and objectives as a society, through the collaboration with all sectors,” Martínez said.

The official added that the objective is that government infrastructure and information systems have adequate security controls, has created the foundation for the development of platforms and applications that the entire population can access and use with ease and confidence.

Martínez further noted that these tasks, which can sometimes be unnoticeable by citizens, are precisely what the most technologically advanced jurisdictions constantly use to ensure that innovative initiatives can “emerge and be developed from any sector,” to then be welcomed at a national level and guarantee their use and permanence.

In May 2022, the full-service Security Operations Center (SOC) was inaugurated with a centralized “cybersecurity monitoring event” at government agencies. This monitoring includes alerts of suspicious activity on networks, user accounts, and detection and protection against attacks on devices.

And, thank’s to a $7.6 million investment for the protection of computers and servers, which includes 7/24/365 monitoring services by the Multi-State Information Sharing Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) SOC, the government of Puerto Rico is “more protected than ever” against cyber-attacks, she assured.

Since the implementation of these services, more than 600 cyber-attacks have been identified and blocked and support has been provided in response to these incidents in the Highway and Transportation Authority (HTA), with the ransomware that impacted the operations of the Autoexpreso, the Legislative Services Offices and at the municipality of Vega Alta, among others.

“It should be noted that, in the detection and response to these incidents, we have the collaboration of authorities such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and the Department of Public Safety. These measures have contributed to improving the ability to detect and respond to cyber threats and it is projected that by 2023 PRITS will be able to identify more cybersecurity incidents than in previous years,” Martínez added. 

The government’s cybersecurity program was adopted from the framework of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to improve cybersecurity in critical infrastructures and Center for Internet Security V7 controls.

Martínez said that to “promote transparency,” and with the goal of keeping citizens informed of all the projects being implemented, as well as those that are in the development stage, PRITS published the 2022 Annual Report detailing, among other things, the digitalization, innovation and agility efforts that have been developed by the agency.

Some of these efforts are the Electronic Identity System for Online Access (IDEAL by its Spanish acronym); the Cyber Security Program; Service Management Flows “IT Service Management,” CESCO Digital, VACU ID, the development and renovation of countless government websites, hundreds of administrative actions, the government’s data strategy, data infrastructures and networks and licensing.

To learn more about PRITS’ technological innovation efforts, Martínez said citizens can access the annual report online.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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