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Nation's Cybersecurity Experts Featured at Nov. 18 Titans

On Nov. 18, more than 500 members of the region’s technology community gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner for a Titans breakfast featuring three of our nation's top names in cybersecurity: Army Cyber Command Commanding General Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

During a discussion moderated by NVTC Vice Chair Todd Stottlemyer of Acentia, the panelists shared their insights on various cyber threats facing our nation and what business, government and military leaders should be doing to protect against them. The panelists began by identifying major cyber threats facing the United States today, including IP theft, critical infrastructure and control systems, and smart devices and the increasingly connected Internet of Things.

Cybersecurity panelists.
From left: NVTC Board Member Greg Baroni of Attain, Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and NVTC Vice Chair Todd Stottlemyer of Acentia.

One of the most important things we can do to combat these threats, according to the panel, is to break down stovepipes and improve information sharing and collaboration between government and businesses and among different government agencies. The panelists agreed that there is has been significant improvement in this area over the last ten years but that more can be done to bring all players together.

Lt. General Cardon highlighted the need for a mechanism for industry and government to share cybersecurity professionals and also explained how today’s policy framework is not effective for combatting 21st century threats. He also expressed the importance of the government keeping up with technology that transitions much faster than current government acquisition processes can keep up with.

In the private sector, Secretary Chertoff suggested that corporate boards need to focus more on cybersecurity as a governance and strategy issue, not just a technology issue and highlighted the value of training and incentivizing good behavior among employees. Director Mueller explained that it is impossible to protect everything, so companies should identify their most important assets and data, who wants those assets and how they are connected in order to prioritize their cybersecurity efforts.

The event closed with a lively Q&A session with attendees, during which the panelists also addressed issues such as pre-emptive attacks, how organizations should anticipate and prepare for cyber incursions, including potential insider threats, how rising connectivity can cause increased vulnerabilities, and how better data storage and analytics can actually help organizations protect their data assets.