Governors gather for National Governor’s Conference – National Summit on State Cybersecurity

In the backyard of our very own Cyber Innovation Center, governors from around the country are gathered in Shreveport-Bossier for the National Governor’s Conference – National Summit on State Cybersecurity.

Gov. John Bel Edwards currently serves as co-chairman of the National Governors Association’s Resource Center for State Cybersecurity and brought the summit to his home state.

One of the first sessions on Tuesday was about Cybersecurity and the whole-of-state approach. Major Gen. Glenn Curtis, Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard, started the discussion, touting the steps taken in Louisiana since December 2017 to start a state-wide Cybersecurity Commission, with Craig Spohn, Executive Director/President of the Cyber Innovation Center, serving as the chair. Many of the members of the state commission were in attendance at the session.

MG Curtis, who co-chairs the commission, said the state is on stronger footing since the creation of the commission, which he touted as having created a sense of trust throughout the state, fostering more communication and information sharing to combat the risks/response associated with cybersecurity attacks.

One main concern MG Curtis spoke to was the smaller businesses in our state and how they may not have the resources to combat and bounce back after a cyber-attack from ransomware. The Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Exchange is in place to help “detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.”

MG Curtis also communicated the commission is also concerned that if the state has a catastrophic event (i.e. Katrina), “our adversaries will take advantage” in the form of a cyber-attack.

The Commission has created protocol within the state’s emergency response plan and they have pre-event planning, simulated incident exercises and then post-event debriefing to make sure the systems in place work and to provide any improvements needed.

Other leaders at the conference – from New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia – agreed with MG Curtis, expounding on the work at the executive level in their states in conjunction with additional entities, particularly the National Guard. New Jersey Director of Homeland Security and Preparedness Jared Maples touted their NJCCIC website Both New Jersey and North Carolina have heavy cybersecurity pieces around election security, as all states are working toward. Louisiana revised provisions around election security during the 2018 legislative session.