Gov. McAuliffe: States Need Core Cyber Protections to Fight Threats

The National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe hosted the final summit for his chair’s initiative, Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge, in Leesburg, Virginia, earlier this week.

Gov. McAuliffe discussed the importance of the state-federal partnership when it comes to cybersecurity. In an interview session with Politico reporter Tim Starks, he said, “Coordination with the federal government is key,” but “I think we as the states have to lead.”

“Every single day cyberattacks are going on. We talk about protecting our citizens, which is at the core of any government, and this is a key part of that,” Gov. McAuliffe continued. “The point of this initiative is for all the states to have the basic core protections to fight cyberthreats.”

Gov. McAuliffe’s 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 45 states and territories to discuss innovative practices and solutions to cyber threats. Sessions were held on a variety of topics, including discussions on trends in cybersecurity, crowdsourcing security, lessons learned from NGA’s policy academy on cybersecurity strategies, improving information sharing with states and ISACs, the future of technology, cybersecurity and elections, expanding the cybersecurity talent pool and a discussion on whether Internet of Things security should be regulated.

In addition to Gov. McAuliffe, participants heard from Richard Clarke, chairman and CEO of Good Harbor Security Risk Management; Adam Ely, vice president of information security at Walmart; Katie Moussouris, founder and CEO of Luta Security; Katherine Gronberg, vice president of government affairs for cybersecurity firm Forescout; Josh Corman, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council; Colorado Chief Information Officer Deborah Blythe; Nevada Chief Information Officer Shannon Rahming; Oregon Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit; Louisiana Chief Information Security Officer Dustin Glover; plus Virginia Technology Secretary Karen Jackson.

Since July 2016, there have been two regional Meet the Threat summits in Boston and in San Jose, California, plus five roundtables to discuss the intersection of cybersecurity and health care, education and workforce, critical infrastructure, autonomy and the Internet of Things.

The meeting in Leesburg also marked the last meeting of an NGA policy academy for states on developing and implementing comprehensive cybersecurity practices. A number of outcomes came out of the policy academy, including a statewide cybersecurity strategy in Illinois, an emergency support function for cybersecurity to improve cybersecurity response planning capabilities in Louisiana, and a law establishing an Office of Cyber Defense Coordination in Nevada.

Gov. McAuliffe will close out his chair’s initiative at the 2017 NGA Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, July 13-15, where he will release a Governor’s Guide for Cybersecurity to help all 55 states, territories and commonwealths strengthen their cybersecurity practices. His Meet the Threat work will continue to live on through the Resource Center for State Cybersecurity.