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Highlights from the 2014 Wisconsin Cyber Security Summit

Cybersecurity protections in Wisconsin government took another step forward last week with an impressive cyber summit that included Gov. Scott Walker, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar (the adjutant general in Wisconsin) and security leaders from around the nation and the world.

by / October 13, 2014
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Dan Lohrmann

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker 

The second annual Wisconsin Cyber Security Summit was held at Marquette University’s Alumni Memorial Union, in Milwaukee, Wisc., on Oct. 8, 2014. The agenda was packed with cybersecurity experts speaking on topics ranging from “Your Annual Cyber Physical: 5 Steps to Cyber Health” by Will Pelgrin to “Cyber Security as a Business Opportunity – The Israeli Case” by Rami Efrati, former head of the Civilian Division of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau.

Will Pelgrin being interviewed at Wisconsin Cyber Security Summit

Other keynote presentations included Wisconsin CIO David Cagigal's state of Wisconsin update on technology and cybersecurity in the state, FBI Headquarter Section Chief Ronald Yearwood’s perspective on “The Cyber Threat,” the National Guard Cyber Strategic Plan by Brig. Gen. John McCoy and a fascinating presentation by Marcus Sachs from Verizon on “Do We Know What We Don’t Know?”

Verizon VP Marcus Sachs

My lunch keynote presentation was on the topic of “Surprising Cyber Lessons from Michigan Government,” in which I highlighted several stories from my 17 years working in Michigan government technology and cybersecurity leadership. 

This video from last year's event highlights the level of engagement that Wisconsin is seeking, while not dodging the tough issues. This video also shows that it is not a “one-off” event for Wisconsin.


Observations from 2014 Cyber Summit

1)      Wisconsin has truly raised its game when it comes to cyberdefense, and this event shows the commitment to doing what is necessary to defend critical data resources. The governor’s participation and opening words provided clear direction. 

2)      Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar is a true national leader on homeland security who has the support of Wisconsin’s Gov. Walker and many others. He is also a true class act who does things right. I have seen him in many groups before, and he always impresses me.

As his bio points out: “Major General Donald P. Dunbar commands the Wisconsin National Guard and is responsible for Emergency Management. He also serves as Wisconsin’s Homeland Security Advisor, chairs the Homeland Security Council, and serves as the senior state official for cyber matters. Gen Dunbar serves as the Chairman for the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC) and serves on the executive committee of the Adjutants General Association of the United States (AGAUS).”

Major General Donald P. Dunbar with Rami Efrati exiting stage

3)      Wisconsin CIO David Cagigal and his team also impressed me with their willingness to learn from others and do what is necessary to succeed with technology innovation and cybersecurity defense in Wisconsin state government. David took several pages out of Michigan’s “cyber playbook,” and they are well-positioned now to make major strides over the next few years.

Wisconsin CIO David Cagigal

4)      The cyber threats governments face keep growing from almost any vantage point. All of the presenters told stories of relentless attacks. The FBI data and Will Pelgrin’s presentation provided a sobering reminder of how far we still need to go.

5)      States can learn from each other. Wisconsin has used the Michigan Cyber Range and reached out to the best and brightest around the country to help the state. The staff's humility and professional excellence were refreshing.

In conclusion, this cyber summit offered another look at National Cyber Security Awareness Month activities from another state's perspective. I urge other governments to follow Wisconsin’s example of making cybersecurity a top priority to be addressed now.

I understand that the videos of the event sessions will be available soon at the Ready Wisconsin website.  


Note: All photos by Dan Lohrmann

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Dan Lohrmann Chief Security Officer & Chief Strategist at Security Mentor Inc.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.

During his distinguished career, he has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, receiving numerous national awards including: CSO of the Year, Public Official of the Year and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Lohrmann led Michigan government’s cybersecurity and technology infrastructure teams from May 2002 to August 2014, including enterprisewide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan.

He currently serves as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor Inc. He is leading the development and implementation of Security Mentor’s industry-leading cyber training, consulting and workshops for end users, managers and executives in the public and private sectors. He has advised senior leaders at the White House, National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit institutions.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US/UK military facility.

Lohrmann is the author of two books: Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD for You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. He has been a keynote speaker at global security and technology conferences from South Africa to Dubai and from Washington, D.C., to Moscow.

He holds a master's degree in computer science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a bachelor's degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Follow Lohrmann on Twitter at: @govcso

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