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Prioritizing Security and Accessibility in IT Procurement

In April 2024, the California Association of Public Procurement Officials (CAPPO) and the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) co-hosted a webinar focusing on the critical relationship between IT procurement, security, and accessibility. The session, led by April Marin, Executive Director of Contract, Procurement, and Risk Management Services, and Hsiawen Hull, Executive Director of Infrastructure and Information Security, from Santa Clarita Community College District, offered valuable insights into navigating the complexities of software procurements.

In today’s digital world, acquiring IT solutions involves more than just obtaining software. Public agencies must prioritize solutions that not only work well but also come with robust security features and are designed with accessibility in mind. From protecting sensitive data to ensuring inclusivity for all users, public agencies face an increasingly challenging landscape with high stakes.

The webinar emphasized the importance of collaboration between procurement and IT departments from the start of any software procurement process to ensure a thorough assessment during agreement negotiations. Marin and Hull stressed the need to align procurement practices with stringent regulatory frameworks such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and compliance standards outlined in Section 508. These regulations serve as essential guidelines, mandating that technology solutions meet specific criteria for data privacy, security, and accessibility.

A key takeaway from the webinar was the critical role of integrating security and accessibility considerations throughout the IT procurement process. This proactive approach mitigates risks and fosters an environment where technology promotes equitable access and inclusivity.

As public agencies navigate the complexities of IT procurement, it’s essential to take a holistic approach that goes beyond traditional procurement practices. By integrating security and accessibility considerations into every stage of the procurement process, agencies can not only fulfill their regulatory obligations but also promote a more inclusive and secure digital future for everyone.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Marin and Hull for their dedication to protecting student, staff, and faculty information. Their insightful presentation on this critical topic was a valuable contribution, and we appreciate the time they devoted to sharing their expertise.

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