Virginia Launches Cybersecurity Commission

The governor wants input for making Virginia a cybersecurity leader.

Virginia wants to be a national leader in cybersecurity.

Other states are striving for the same title, but the commonwealth is hoping that the newly created Virginia Cyber Security Commission will offer guidance on how to achieve that status.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order in February that created the commission and outlined key responsibilities. The commission will:

  1. Identify the state’s high-risk cybersecurity issues.

  2. Provide advice and recommendations on securing the state’s networks, systems and data, including interoperability, standardized plans and procedures, and evolving threats and best practices to prevent the unauthorized access, theft, alteration, and destruction of data.

  3. Provide suggestions for adding cybersecurity to Virginia’s emergency management and disaster-response capabilities, including testing cybersecurity incident-response scenarios, recovery and restoration plans and coordinating with the federal government and the Virginia Information Technologies Agency.

  4. Offer suggestions for promoting awareness of cyber hygiene — i.e., maintaining computer systems and devices and safeguarding them with cybersecurity best practices — among state residents, businesses and government agencies.

Karen Jackson, Virginia’s secretary of technology, and Richard Clarke, chairman and CEO of Good Harbor Security Risk Management, will co-chair the commission. The first meeting is set for June 11.

The commission’s launch follows the opening of a public-private cybersecurity accelerator in Virginia last year. Called MACH37, the challenging 90-day program aims to create cybersecurity startups by allowing participants to develop their cybersecurity ideas and then present them to investors to attain funding. The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) in Herndon received $2.5 million in state funds to operate the accelerator.

The Northern Virginia Technology Council said the state’s support of MACH37 and other legislative initiatives will ensure that Virginia remains a top destination for business and a global technology center.

“We go beyond the traditional model of typical business accelerators by bringing our innovators focused mentorship and support from our extensive network of visionaries, practitioners and successful entrepreneurs in security,” CIT said in a recent announcement. “Our spring and fall sessions are designed to propel graduating companies into the marketplace, equipped with the skills to grow and compete for funding and market share.”

Click here for more information about MACH37.

Maksim Kabakou/ThinkStock
Jun 10 2014