On June 22 – 24, 2022 NGA hosted Governors and their advisors, chief information officers, chief information security officers, National Guard leaders, state homeland security advisors and private sector partners in Columbus, Ohio, to explore ongoing cybersecurity challenges and share ideas for improvements. The summit convened more than 200 leaders from nearly every state and territory to engage in both formal and informal settings on a wide range of issues affecting the states.
The three-day event kicked off with a Color Guard presentation and welcome remarks by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who reiterated the importance of combatting the cyber threat through continuous innovation and collaboration. NGA Executive Director Bill McBride then took the stage with Arkansas Governor and NGA Chairman Asa Hutchinson to discuss Governor Hutchinson’s commitment to developing a strong cybersecurity workforce and the strategies his administration has leveraged to make progress. Attendees then heard from a panel of cybersecurity officials representing North Carolina who provided a case study of its whole-of-state approach and explained the efficacy of confronting the cyber threat in coordination with state and local agencies, the critical infrastructure sector, private companies, academic partners, hospitals, and other key stakeholders.
The theme of collaboration continued across day one, with presentations from NGA’s corporate partners on the importance of information sharing between the public and private sectors, as well as a panel spotlighting the use of volunteer cybersecurity incident response teams, which have been established by a handful of states including Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio. In tandem with the summit, NGA released a new research publication, titled Re-Envisioning State Cyber Response Capabilities: The Role of Volunteers in Strengthening our Systems, which describes the paths these states took to build out their respective volunteer incident response programs and provides recommendations for states looking to adopt similar efforts. Following a thought-provoking keynote presentation on the topic of expanding artificial intelligence, day one concluded with a visit to the Ohio Statehouse, where attendees enjoyed a networking reception.
Day two of the summit began with two back-to-back plenary sessions on the main stage. The first featured a conversation around cybersecurity considerations in the energy sector, which comes at a critical moment in anticipation of the release of $1 billion for state and local cybersecurity efforts as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The second welcomed state officials from Illinois and Connecticut to offer insights into cyber disruption response planning.
Participants spent a good portion of the day tailoring their summit experience to their own interests and priorities, attending breakout sessions that covered cybersecurity topics including public sector digital transformation and identity management efforts, ransomware trends, electric sector coordination, emergency management and communications, software and IT supply chain vulnerabilities, and workforce development. Between opportunities to network with colleagues to share ideas and enjoy the benefits of an in-person format, representatives from the Washington and Wyoming National Guards spoke to the opportunities and challenges they have experienced in addressing cybersecurity needs and building out their capabilities. During the last presentation of the day, state officials from Ohio, Kansas, Massachusetts and Indiana participated on a panel that highlighted their different approaches to strengthening partnership between state and local entities, offering ideas for use of the imminent cybersecurity grant.
After a final day of programming consisting of conversations centered on risk management and cyber insurance trends, cyber risks in the healthcare sector, zero-trust architecture and cloud security challenges participants returned to their home states with new perspectives and ideas.
Please visit NGA’s Resource Center for State Cybersecurity webpage to find the latest publications, news and resources related to state cybersecurity developments. If your state or territory is interested in joining NGA’s cybersecurity network, please contact Cybersecurity Program Director Steve Fugelsang (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Senior Policy Analyst Casey Dolen (email@example.com).