Can Texas Reinforce Its Cybersecurity Through IT Modernization?

Today, we are pleased to release the report, Investing in Texas: Cybersecurity and IT Modernization, which examines the unique opportunity state officials have to reinforce the foundations of Texas government by securing and modernizing its technological infrastructure. 

What to Know:

  • With sizable state and federal appropriations for technology upgrades in consideration, the Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, supported by Texas 2036, examined the challenges and opportunities for Texas state government officials.
  • Some of the focus in its report includes optimal cybersecurity financing, identifying unique risks, allocating limited resources among competing priorities, and coordinating efforts with internal and external stakeholders.


Over the years, Texas lawmakers have significantly increased funds and passed other legislation to improve cybersecurity and modernize information systems. These state funds, along with federal stimulus and infrastructure funds, have prompted efforts to prioritize the dedicated funds in ways that optimally mitigate broad risks to society and promote efficiency through improvements in information systems. 

Takeaway: The state requires cybersecurity training for all employees of state and local governments.

The Benefits: In addition to these resources, the state might benefit from expanding its role as a general cybersecurity consultant to local governments. By leveraging its scale, the state government could enhance its assistance to local governments, much like it does with its broader technological procurement procedures. 

IT Modernization

A key step in optimizing productivity and ensuring the integrity of state information systems involves modernizing hardware and other technology. By maintaining its technology, the state government can improve the efficiency and stability of its operations and enhance cybersecurity standards. Modernizing obsolete information systems can often lead to heightened returns on investment that maximize employee productivity and provide government services at scale.

The Big Picture: Modernized and enhanced technology could generate significant efficiency improvements, particularly as many employees shift to remote work and as labor markets become increasingly tight.

Why This Matters: While many employees have returned to in-person work, the state should not ignore the ongoing transition in labor markets. With growing labor scarcities coupled with increasing competition from outside employers offering remote work opportunities, the state legislature should consider altering its existing labor policies.

The Report

By understanding the value of cybersecurity and information technology investments, government officials are provided a broad perspective to evaluate certain tradeoffs, improve allocations, and consider other actions to better serve their constituents.” –Jorge Barro, Ph.D., author of the report and fellow at the Baker Institute of Policy

This is the fourth in a series of five new reports from Texas 2036 and the Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy that explore ways the state of Texas can invest in our future.

Read the full report to learn more about the state’s opportunity to improve resource reliability by helping to insulate critical infrastructure and local governments from cyberattacks.