Thursday, November 17, 2021
by Cyber Security Summit

In her keynote address at the 11th Annual Cyber Security Summit, Director Easterly outlined CISA’s role as a unique, public-private collaborative entity designed to understand, manage, and reduce cybersecurity risk for all Americans. 

Director Easterly outlined how CISA is witnessing a fundamental shift in the collaborative paradigm, moving from public-private partnerships into true operational collaboration. Changing from information sharing to information enabling. Making sure CISA provides timely, relevant and actionable data that can be used by network defenders to ensure the security of their environments. 

She went on to discuss how the last election cycle illuminated the need for a comprehensive model to protect our elections. As elections are exclusively run by states, CISA’s role here is supportive. Ensuring people have the tools to manage and identify risks to election infrastructure. Providing state support is a high priority for CISA. Easterly applauded Minnesota’s decision to move to a .gov domain describing how this helps voters identify legitimate election information and counters election-based disinformation. 

What are the benefits to the private sector of collaborating with CISA? 

— Connect the dots in cybersecurity risks emerging across the country. 

— Contribute to the data that can be analyzed and synthesized to produce actionable products. 

— Gain access to onsite teams that can be deployed, providing support to enrich incident response. 

What are areas of further growth for CISA?

— CISA has recently launched the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative. This is the only federal cyber institution that combines all the federal cyber ecosystems as well as the power, innovation, and ingenuity of industry to create actionable plans to tackle the greatest cyber threats to the nation. 

— To get ahead of incidents, CISA is creating a whole nation approach to identify unique capabilities to reduce specific cyber risks in the near term. The maturity of this collaboration will be key to driving success. 

— The journey to Zero-Trust: important endeavors take time, intent and careful implementation, but it is also important to move with speed as attackers are continuing to improve their efforts to compromise our IT infrastructure.

— Developing a shared responsibility model for collection, and analysis of cloud security data. 

— CISA is leading a national effort to create the equivalent of food safety standards for critical software. The idea is to ensure that broadly used software is safe for mass consumption. 

Director Easterly concluded the keynote by stressing the importance of using the resources that CISA provides. If you need CISA, reach out. Best practices must be shared, and we all contribute to building a community that enables a collective defense of our nation. 

Jen Easterly

Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Jen Easterly is the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Ms. Easterly was nominated by President Biden in April 2021 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on July 12, 2021. As Director, Ms. Easterly leads CISA’s efforts to protect and defend civilian government networks, manage systemic risk to national critical functions, and collaborate with State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial partners as well as with the private sector to ensure the security and resilience of the Nation’s cyber and physical infrastructure.

Before serving in her current role, Ms. Easterly was the head of Firm Resilience and the Fusion Resilience Center at Morgan Stanley, responsible for ensuring preparedness and response to business-disrupting operational incidents and risks. Ms. Easterly joined the Firm in 2017 to build and lead its Cybersecurity Fusion Center, the operational cornerstone of its cyber defense strategy.

Ms. Easterly has a long tradition of public service, to include two tours at the White House, most recently as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Counterterrorism, and earlier as Executive Assistant to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in the George W. Bush Administration. A former member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, she also served as the Deputy for Counterterrorism at the National Security Agency. A two-time recipient of the Bronze Star, Ms. Easterly retired from the U.S. Army after more than twenty years of service in intelligence and cyber operations, including tours of duty in Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Responsible for standing up the Army’s first cyber battalion, Ms. Easterly was also instrumental in the design and creation of United States Cyber Command. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a French-American Foundation Young Leader, Ms. Easterly is the past recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship, the National Security Institute Visiting Fellowship, the New America Foundation Senior International Security Fellowship, the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, and the Director, National Security Agency Fellowship.

A distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Ms. Easterly holds a master’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She is the recipient of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation American Hostage Freedom Award and the Bradley W. Snyder Changing the Narrative Award.