Virginia is building the first state-level system for sharing cybersecurity information between the government and private industry to prepare for and respond to hackers. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the Information Sharing and Analysis Organization this week, which follows a renewed emphasis at the federal level on combatting cybersecurity. That includes a new agency for better collaboration among federal agencies to work on cybersecurity issues, a campus in Washington, D.C. where federal agencies and private companies can share information related to cybersecurity issues and a new directive from President Obama to the Department of Homeland Security urging states to build exactly the kind of organization Virginia will soon have.
“Virginia’s ISAO is our logical next step in building on the outstanding work of the Virginia Cyber Security Commission, Virginia Cyber Security Partnership, Virginia Information Technologies Agency, and the cybersecurity efforts of so many other public- and private-sector partners throughout the Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
States have had trouble attracting top-level cybersecurity talent, another reason this kind of collaboration could be vital to stopping or limiting the damage of digital attacks. Virginia’s role as home to the Pentagon and other national security agencies as well as its efforts to grow its private cybersecurity sector with programs like the Mach37 accelerator, all played a factor in the creation of the ISAO, as did McAuliffe’s own interest in the field.
“With Governor McAuliffe’s leadership of both the National Governors Association Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, and the NGA Resource Center for State Cybersecurity, it just makes sense for Virginia to leverage our existing and future information sharing efforts by creating the first state-level ISAO,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson during a talk at the 2015 RSA Conference in San Francisco this week.
“As Governor McAuliffe’s homeland security advisor, I’m excited that Virginia is leading the ISAO movement and look forward to working alongside our DHS, state, and other cybersecurity partners to help develop standards and best practices for information sharing with the private sector,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran in a statement.