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Changing the paradigm: Forcepoint Cybersecurity Leadership Forum 2018

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Friday, Jun 15, 2018
An overview of the keynotes, themes, and breakout sessions at Forcepoint's third annual conference focused on how federal agencies are addressing cybersecurity: the Forcepoint Cybersecurity Leadership Forum.

This week Forcepoint held our Forcepoint Cybersecurity Leadership Forum, co-produced with Cyberscoop, at the beautiful Newseum in Washington, D.C. More than 500 attendees from over 80 Federal agencies packed themselves into the conference center to hear from some of the biggest government policy and cybersecurity decision makers and influencers across the U.S. Government. Attendees also had a chance to learn more about our products and solutions by visiting the technology showcase.

Forcepoint CEO Matt Moynahan kicked off the forum by encouraging a change in focus when it comes to cybersecurity with a keynote entitled “Transforming Cybersecurity to Protect our Citizens, Infrastructure and Economy.” Matt emphasized the intense sense of urgency for digital transformation Federal agencies are experiencing at this critical juncture, and described the ways in which traditional cybersecurity methods are failing to adequately address the rapidly shifting landscape. At Forcepoint, we believe there is a better way forward, and that is by transforming cybersecurity via a human-centric approach.

Following the opening keynote from Matt, Christopher Krebs, the newly confirmed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Undersecretary at the National Protection and Programs Directorate,  explained his vision of the DHS cybersecurity mission with three main goals – protect the federal government, understand the nation-state advanced persistent threat (APT) actions and conduct a broad cleanup of the security ecosystem, which includes working with the vendor community to pull together a collective approach in security.

Throughout the day we heard first-hand stories of what agencies are addressing in their cybersecurity missions. DHS Director of National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services Rob Karas spoke about the Cybersecurity Assessments conducted by the Red Team responsible for hacking government networks and reporting what they find as weaknesses back to the agency. DHS Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Program Manager Kevin Cox spoke about the desire for visibility into government networks during his panel CDM: A New Way to Defend with Forcepoint’s VP of Global Governments & Critical Infrastructure Eric Trexler. Kevin emphasized that you can’t find out what issues need to be addressed if you don’t have visibility into what’s happening. Also during this session, Cox announced that DHS will award cybersecurity contracts worth $1 billion this month, as its CDM program moves into Phase 4 and expands the services it offers federal agencies.

To close out the morning general session, our final keynote was Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina. During his engaging session, Evanina discussed what it takes to improve a cybersecurity program in today’s sophisticated attack landscape, including:

  • The security of your enterprise must be prioritized. Not just by the CISO or CIO but by the CEO, your suppliers, acquisitions and procurement departments – otherwise you will fail.
  • Know what’s vulnerable to your company. What are the key assets? And who’d want to take advantage of those.  Ask your customers, then ask how you’re protecting them. Have a crisis plan.

In the afternoon, attendees chose from five breakout sessions featuring deep-dive industry discussions on cross domain solutions, insider threat programs, and the CDM DEFEND program that provides federal departments and agencies with capabilities and tools to identify cybersecurity risk and enable personnel to mitigate the most significant problems. Highlights from the breakout session included:

  • Carlene Ileto, Executive Director of Product & Services Delivery Management Office at DHS, described agency challenges with cybersecurity and how vendors can partner on solutions. 
  • Retired CIA executive Mark Kelton emphasized that Insider Threat is not a technology problem, it's a human issue, and the key to prevention is through focusing on human behavior. Kelton discussed the many types of insider threat and shared some insights on how organizations can contribute to threat prevention.

As is often the case at events like this, Forcepoint's favorite service dog, Jumanji, was on hand to greet attendees, along with his human companion Marcus, a Forcepoint senior sales engineer and U.S. Army veteran. I'm especially proud to report that as part of our efforts to support veterans and others with PTSD, we raised over $800 in donations for Freedom Service Dogs of America, which were matched dollar-for-dollar by Forcepoint. 

See the full agenda here and check out some of the highlights on Twitter via the #ForcepointCLF hashtag.

About the Author

Sean Berg

Sean Berg

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Governments and Critical Infrastructure

Sean Berg is the senior vice president and general manager for Forcepoint's global governments and critical infrastructure business, carrying its P&L responsibility and leading the growth strategy. He is expanding Forcepoint's leadership in the cross domain government security markets and...