Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The new Director of the South Carolina Department of Revenue sat down exclusively with News19's Nate Stewart.
While he's only been on the job for six weeks, the new director State Revenue department Bill Blume, is tasked with leading a State Department whose data breach has been described as the biggest in our country's history.
That breach led to millions of South Carolinians tax information being exposed a foreign hacker and the resignation of the departments former director Jim Etter.
Director Blume says he expects more state funds to be spent protecting tax payers data and hiring new security personnel. The tab for security at the Revenue Department has hit 21.7 million dollars.
While the agency does expect to exceed that this year, they have not officially requested more money as of now. Thursday, Director Blume says he wants to restore tax payers respect in the Revenue Department.
"Our security of people's information is non-negotiable," said Blume.
Director Bill Blume says a culture change has begun at the South Carolina Department of Revenue, but will be be enough to ensure the confidence of tax payers in South Carolina?
"We have to think about it not as a process that we complete, but as a continuation that has to stay with us everyday."
Within the next month, the Department of Revenue will see a changing of the guard. According to Blume, the security company Mandiant will turn over security duties to the Dept. of State Information Technology.
"When people ask us, are you encrypting your information? Yes! We are! But it's a thirteen week process, not a day process."
The security company EMC started the data encryption process on Jan 28th. Blume tells News19 they plan to hire a Chief Information Officer and Chief Security officer by the end of March. They've narrowed their list to four candidates.
"We need to compensate those people with this type of expertise in a way that's competitive."
Blume says when the breach occurred, the Department had security procedures in place, but alludes to a lack of leadership.
"It didn't take the tone at the top that I think we should have."
Director Blume admits the Revenue Department will have a tough time gaining back the public's confidence but says he's up to the challenge. With all the changes, News 19 wanted to know if he can now guarantee the prevention of another data breach.
"I wish I could ensure you at 100%. We will substantially better than where we were last year in terms of having people think about security."
Some of the change is actually visible at the Department of Revenue.
Many of these posters line the walls at the revenue department. The same logo will soon be on all desktop computer backgrounds. Director Blume says every employee has to go through a two hour security class.
In addition, Director Blume is continuing to encourage people to file their taxes electronically. He wants people to know it was not the electronic filing that caused the data breach.