CyberMA Hosts Cybersecurity Policy Forum in DC

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Business binders with POLICIES and PROCEDURE words on labels place on process flow charts, pen pointing at document word

Along with CyberUSA, CyberMA, a leading Massachusetts cybersecurity organization, joined with its regional counterparts from across the U.S. in Washington, DC, for a Cyber-Policy briefing by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal experts. The briefing, designed to explore current and proposed policies affecting cybersecurity at the federal level, was held in conjunction with MassTLC’s annual DC Fly-In with national partners CompTIA and the Tech Councils of North America (TECNA).

CyberMAExecutive Director of CyberUSA, Phil Bond, facilitated a discussion that covered a range of topics, including an overview of federal cyber-focused legislation, DHS programming, and best ways to communicate with Capitol Hill.

Randi Parker, Senior Director, CompTIA provided insights on the status of legislation on data breach, information sharing, and IT modernization for the government – none of which seems to be moving quickly. An interesting point that she made was that cyber-related policies have been consistent throughout the Bush, Obama, and now Trump administrations. This is a testament to how important, and also how complex, security policy is.

Mike Flynn, Senior Staff and Counsel, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee of the U.S. Department of House Homeland Security, gave a view from the Hill, as well as some tips for engaging with lawmakers and advocating for your company and sector. As in business, keep your pitch short and precise, have a clear ask, and try to tell a good story.

Ben Gilbert, Senior Analyst at the US Department of Homeland Security, provided an accelerated talk on the many DHS related programs that companies can access. Two programs of mention are a vulnerability scan – this is for more sophisticated companies with a security program – and the second is a cyber infrastructure survey, which is geared more towards small and medium sized companies. Click here to see a full list of DHS programs and descriptions.

The final speaker of the morning, Phil Smith, introduced us to LifeJourney, a career development platform for cyber that is geared towards middle and high school students, as well as those entering the workforce either straight out of school or from community colleges. This free virtual program features NSA professionals creating a variety of cyber scenarios students must work through.

Each speaker provided a different aspect of how industry must continue to be at the forefront of security and work with public officials and academia to push the needle and create sound policy and develop a strong pipeline.