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Information Technology Practices Awards
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Information Technology Award Programs

MISAC now offers 5 award and recognition programs.

  • Excellence in IT Practices
  • Quality in IT Practices
  • Graphical Information
  • Innovation Award
  • Presidents

Excellence in IT Practices Award

The Excellence in IT Practices Award is intended to foster and recognize outstanding governance and operation practices. The program has two levels, Achievement and the higher level of Excellence. The submission and evaluation process requires the submission of a detailed questionnaire that examines the practices across ten different subject areas. The submission requires not only a direct response to the question but also any backup material that might be appropriate. The submission is evaluated and feedback given by a panel of three IT Directors. It can be a great deal of effort but it will also give you a complete audit of your operation. Some agencies have used the results to support requests for additional resources. For either award level, a MISAC member can present the award to the agency leadership at a board or council meeting. There is an evaluation handbook available that describes what the responses are graded against.

 

The 2017 materials to submit for the Excellence in IT Practices award are available.  The due date is Thursday, August 18th.

 

New submission address

The submissions are now being sent to the City of San Bernardino.  Electronic submissions are accepted.

 

New Submittal Form - PDF

The good news is that you don’t have to send 3 hard copies.  We are requesting that submittals be in a PDF format.  The submission needs to include a table of contents and all backup materials need to be linked.  From a reviewer’s perspective, we need to be able to find the material to review it.  If it does not look good to you, it will not look good to us.

 

Any electronic copies will only be sent to reviewers.  Submissions will be destroyed after the review period.

 

Questions Changes:

Every year a number of questions are updated.  It does change some of the question numbers for questions that come after an addition. 

 

Budget and Strategic Planning

#2 – Gartner is showing that agencies spent 3.5% in 2015 and 4% in 2016.  We have raised our thresholds:

  • 3 = >3.5%
  • 2 = 3.0 to 3.5%
  • 1 = 2.0 to 3.0%
  • = < 2.0% or no answer

Disaster Preparation and Recover

#72 – Are backup tapes stored off-site as part of the disaster recovery plan?  If so, please describe the procedure. Has been changed to: How is information stored off-site? Please explain.

 

Security

Four questions were added to the beginning of the section. All of the question numbers will be offset from this section going forward. 

 

The first four SANS control points have been added:

  • #73 - Do you have a current inventory of authorized and unauthorized devices? How recent is it and how is it kept current?  (SANS control #1)
  • #74 - Do you have a current inventory of authorized and unauthorized software? How recent is it and how is it kept current?  (SANS control #2)
  • #75 - Have you defined secure configurations for hardware and software on mobile devices, laptops, workstations and servers? (SANS control #3)
  • #76 - Do you have a procedure for continuous vulnerability assessment and remediation?  Please describe it. (SANS control #4)

General Philosophy

The program is designed to be a complete audit of the organization.  It is not expected that every organization can respond to every question.  Every IT organization is different in how needs to supports its customers so there is not necessarily one correct answer on any given question.  The applicant needs to provide an explanation on how that agency addresses the issue that the question is discussing. 

 

Smaller organizations are naturally limited by resources so they may not be addressing some issues as effectively as a larger organization.  The reviewers will take those factors into account.  Small agencies can and do receive the higher ‘Excellence’ award.

  • If the answer is not given then it is graded as a zero.
  • If the answer states that the agency is ‘going to’, then it is assumed that the agency’s policy does not currently exist and is graded as a zero.
  • If the answer begins with a ‘No’ then the reviewers expect an explanation on how the agency is addressing the issue discussed in that question.  Don’t tell us what you are not doing but what you are doing.
  • Examples can be used to receive partial or full credit.
  • Applicants who submit repeat applicants need to ensure all information is updated to reflect the current configuration. Outdated information could result in the application overall rating downgraded.
  • Submittals shall include numbered section tabs to organize the submittal based on sections I – XI and all attachments or reference materials. Response shall refer to the number section tab.
  • If it asks for an attachment, include it.
  • If your answer refers to a policy consider attaching the policy to help the reviewers. Only attach non-confidential polices.

The reviewers guide is available so that there is no mystery to what key items that the reviewers are looking for in any question.

 

GIS: If your agency does not provide GIS support then it will not be graded down.  If the agency does provide GIS support and the answers do not meet minimum standards then it will be graded down.  The questions are looking for the definition of a strategic plan, data layers, application integration and quality control.

 

Hints

It takes a great deal of time to fill out the response form and it takes time to evaluate it.  Please consider these hints to make it easier for the reviewers:

  • The program no longer requires hard copies to be submitted.  We have moved to a PDF submittal.
  • On the application, make the font color on the reply different from the question.
  • Check the last question number.  If it is different then your application you may have last year’s application.
  • Please do the math – In your responses include the requested ratios. Don’t make the reviewers calculate them.


Quality in IT Practices Award

The Quality Award program is a subset of the Excellence program and is not as rigorous of a process. It covers similar concepts but doesn't go into as much depth as the Excellence program.  Applying for the Quality Award is recommended for every member agency. The application process is done via an online survey. Please note: This link is for 2016; 2017 is coming soon.

 

The application fee for the Excellence Award is $100 and the application fee for the Quality Award is $25. If paying by check, please make it payable to "MISAC" and submit it to the address shown below. If paying electronically, please follow these links for Excellence or Quality.

 

Checks may be submitted to:
MISAC
950 Glenn Drive, Suite 150
Folsom, CA  95630
 

Graphical Information Award

The Graphical Information Award is intended to recognize excellence in creating and displaying graphical information. The submissions can be GIS or map based but they can also be network diagrams or other types of materials. There is no required theme. The judging is done by your peers and it based on how well you get your intended message across.

 

Innovation Award

The Innovation Award will recognize the outstanding efforts and innovative solutions by an agency. Has your agency done something to improve services, processes, products or elevate productivity? Big or small, new or doing something different, simple or complex – has it achieved a positive and impactful result in your organization. As a government agency we all are faced with many challenges: tight budgets, silo thinking, lack of desire to change -- what has your organization done to change for the better.

The intent is that the submission can be on any topic related to your Agency and identify IT involvement. The rating criteria include:

- The impact of the problem/challenges and how well it is outlined

- The innovativeness of the solution

- The quality of the results achieved

 

The inaugural winner (2011/2012) was the City of Beverly Hills. They implemented and are hosting a video conference training system that will be used by 30 different Fire Departments in Los Angeles County.

 

President's Award

The President's Award is intended to provide recognition for an individual or organization that has shown an outstanding contribution to MISAC or the Information Technology field. The award can recognize a special project, a department or a person for their achievements. The recipient does not have to be a MISAC member. The award will be presented at the annual conference.

 

For further information on the awards programs, please contact Mitch Cochran at 909-384-5947 or Cochran_mi@sbcity.org

 

 

 

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