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Angelo State Opens Regional Security Operations Center

January 19, 2023

(L-R) ASU Provost Don Topliff, ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr., State Rep. Drew Darby, San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter and DIR Executive Director Amanda Crawford prepare to cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the ASU RSOC.

Angelo State University marked the official opening of the state’s first Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC) with a ribbon cutting ceremony Jan. 19 at the RSOC site on the second floor of the ASU Vincent Building at 2333 Vanderventer St.

First announced in April 2022, the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) selected ASU to operate the pilot RSOC, which will provide local Texas governments with cybersecurity support. Eligible customers include counties, city governments, school districts, water districts, hospital districts and regional state agency offices.

Ronnie Hawkins Jr. Ronnie Hawkins Jr. “Opening the RSOC is a major milestone for Angelo State,” said ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. “It will enable us to lead the way in fostering a cybersecurity/technology community of practice with local, regional and state governments, each with their own unique needs. It also furthers our vision of being an innovative leader for the region, state and globe, as well as our efforts to develop a cybersecurity center of excellence. We are incredibly proud to pilot this DIR initiative and lay the foundation for its future success.”

The RSOC will help local entities address common security weaknesses through best practices, model policies, planning initiatives, education, infrastructure improvements and more.

“Today is the first step in DIR’s whole-of-state approach for securing the data of Texans through establishing regional security operations centers to help protect local governments from cyber threats,” said Amanda Crawford, DIR executive director and chief information officer for the State of Texas. “We are excited about this partnership with Angelo State University and believe this is the first of many installations that will lead to a more secure Texas.”

The RSOC will offer network security infrastructure that local governments can access, including real-time network security monitoring, network security alerts, incident response and cybersecurity educational services. RSOC operations will be overseen by Dr. Kurt Hoffmaster, director of ASU’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Security Studies.

“Utilizing highly-skilled staff and student professionals,” Hoffmaster said, “the Angelo State RSOC will provide our community with the best in cybersecurity expertise and resources, which will help to protect our community from potential cyber threats.”

The RSOC will also give ASU students opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow and create pathways for future employment.

“Our ASU student professionals will not only graduate with a prestigious college degree, but will also gain invaluable experience in the cybersecurity career field,” Hoffmaster said. “Future employers will benefit from having new employees who are already well-versed in the field and who can hit the ground running without the need for extensive onboarding and training.”

“By providing resources and educational programs,” he added, “we can help create a more secure cyber environment for our citizens and community while also helping fill a local job market for cybersecurity professionals.”

ASU has leveraged existing cybersecurity academic programs in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Security Studies, Department of Computer Science and other departments, as well as existing staff and infrastructure, to expedite the establishment of the RSOC.

DIR’s vision for ASU’s pilot RSOC is that it will lead to additional partnerships with other public universities to establish RSOCs throughout the state to increase the threat protection and cyber maturity of all of Texas.