In the world of Federal IT, we all know cloud and cyber are driving the conversation – especially when it comes to IT modernization. That’s why Tech Data government solutions and MeriTalk hosted the “Cyber Convergence: Security, the Cloud, and Your Data” event the morning of March 8 at the Newseum. I had the pleasure of welcoming more than 225 attendees with some opening remarks and introducing our keynote speaker, William Evanina.William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, kicked off the event with his lecture about how a simple conversation – at less than the cost of a cup of coffee – could help realign organizational priorities to focus on enterprise solutions. lecture
He pointed out that it’s important to go deeper. “Have a conversation to understand what you’re trying to protect – what is the data that makes your company or agency so special, and what if it got out? Identify key assets, prioritize your data, and then socialize that information to make sure everyone understands those key assets and how to protect them.”
Evanina also recommended developing a crisis plan and exercising it to test employee understanding, identify any gaps, and figure out how to fix them. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the brand. If you lose brand, you lose.”
The conversation continued with the “Cloud and IT Modernization” panel, where panelists discussed how to combat ever-evolving cyber threats while balancing critical guidelines and regulations from FITARA, DCOI, NIST and most recently, MGT. Regarding Feds’ concerns about the logistics of modernization funds, Brett Scott, director of security solutions for Tech Data said, “The evolution [of legacy systems] will give better security and financial results, which will provide an opportunity to recover those funds you’re already spending on legacy systems, likely generating more scalable solutions.”
Camil Samaha, security and compliance leader, worldwide public sector for Amazon Web Services, suggested focusing on outcomes vs. specific solutions. “Leverage anything out there to deliver strong security and management posture. Leverage cloud tools specific to those environments if they allow you to reach right outcomes.”
Other trends that stood out during the three Cyber Convergence panels included improving employee training, determining how to measure and motivate cloud adoption, and generally working together to make small changes with larger impacts. During the “Proactive Cyber Security” panel, Christian Cintron, deputy chief information security officer, Office of the Director of National Intelligence said cloud security 101 is to, “know your role and the role of the person you’re working with, enable the mission, and have a deep understanding of handoff points. You don’t want a situation when the ball is falling between outfielders.”
The final speaker of the day was Greg Smithberger, director of capabilities and chief information officer, National Security Agency, who delivered the lunch keynote. Smithberger said there will continue to be persistent evolving threats that we must defend against, and that layered defenses are critical to managing security functions. He also explained that cyberspace is a complex and somewhat chaotic environment, and we must continue to play the network defense game to give ourselves better equipment as we move into new environments.
Alongside Tech Data’s Pete Rzonca, we thank everyone who made the event possible and applaud the professionals from both industry and government who contributed to this important conversation.
About the Author
Milo Speranzo serves as the director of strategy and compliance for Tech Data government solutions. In this role, Milo is responsible for driving the vision, strategy, revenue, profitability and ensuring the compliance of Tech Data’s public sector business.