Gov. McAuliffe: Cybersecurity Is Key State Issue

SAN JOSE, CALIF.—Today National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe delivered a keynote address on states’ role in strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity to protect critical infrastructure and personal data.

“By 2020, 200 billion networked devices are expected to be connected across the globe,” Gov. McAuliffe said to an audience of state officials and business leaders in Silicon Valley. “Domestic and foreign actors target sensitive information and systems that, if compromised, could have significant economic and political consequences, and result in serious damage to our vital infrastructure.”

“For far too long, cybersecurity has been seen as an information technology issue that requires technical solutions,” Gov. McAuliffe continued. “Through my initiative, I have sought to highlight that cybersecurity is a whole-of-state issue that affects every level of government and every facet of our daily lives.”

Gov. McAuliffe’s remarks were part of a regional cybersecurity summit tied to his NGA chair’s initiative, Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge. The initiative focuses on developing state strategies for strengthening cybersecurity practices and bringing together policy leaders from every state, as well as private sector experts and federal partners, to highlight innovative practices and identify ways in which state-driven solutions can be replicated nationwide.

The event brought together thought leaders, private sector experts and teams from more than 20 states and territories to discuss innovative practices and solutions to cyber threats. Sessions were held on a variety of topics, including addressing the cybersecurity workforce deficit, improving states’ cyber response plans, confronting threats to election systems, dealing with vulnerable critical infrastructure, using the National Guard as an asset to improve preparedness and engaging public and private partners to help mitigate risk to the health care sector.

In addition to Gov. McAuliffe, participants heard from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla; Michael Duff, chief information security officer at Stanford University; and Michael DeCesare, CEO of San Jose–based cybersecurity firm Forescout, plus Virginia Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran and Technology Secretary Karen Jackson; Oklahoma Chief Security Officer Mark Gower; West Virginia Chief Information Security Officer Joshua Spencer; Iowa Policy Advisor to the governor, Cord Overton; and officials from the FBI, National Security Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

At the recent NGA Winter Meeting, Gov. McAuliffe hosted a session on cybersecurity with guests from Google, Deloitte & Touche, Morrison Foerster and the University of Southern California. Since July 2016, he has hosted two regional summits (the first in Boston), plus five roundtables to discuss the intersection of cybersecurity and health care, education and workforce, critical infrastructure, autonomy and the Internet of Things. The capstone meeting of his chair’s initiative will take place in Leesburg, Virginia, June 14-15.