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.
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