Photo by Scott Graham

As another edition to NetCentrics’ industry day series, I attended the CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) CSD (Cybersecurity Division) Virtual Industry Day to hear from CISA’s representatives directly for their insight into requirements on upcoming pursuable opportunities to support the division in assuring security, resilience and reliability of the nation’s cyber systems.   

Something to keep in mind while you read through this is that in the coming years ahead, CISA will be focusing on: A) stopping threats B) hardening the terrain and C) driving security by default. (A more detailed explanation of these three areas of focus in our first industry day post – here.) 

Untenable Environment; Unprecedented Resource Growth

According to CISA the current cybersecurity environment is untenable. Due to unprecedented growth in resources from Congress, they now have the ability to fortify and improve ecosystems where necessary. They are looking to update capabilities to fight risk factors and increase risk management capabilities.  

The Cybersecurity Division of CISA has four key mission priorities: 

  • Cyber Defense Operations – Detect and prevent cybersecurity risks where possible through information sharing and deployment of detective and preventative technologies, and by also providing incident response and “hunt” capabilities to minimize the impact of incidents.  
  • Federal Networks Governance and Capacity Building – Raise the federal cybersecurity baseline. Provide tools, services, and expert guidance and cybersecurity directives to drive cyber risk management within agency defined risk tolerance and CISA’s continuous analysis of cyber risk across the Federal enterprise.  
  • Critical Infrastructure/SLTT Governance and Capacity Building – Provide non-federal entities with cybersecurity info, assessment and incident response assistance to enable a more comprehensive cybersecurity risk management of the critical functions that underpin our national security, public health and safety, and economic security. Also, to support and enable non-federal entities to better manage risk at an acceptable level commensurate with their own defined risk tolerance. 
  • Long-term Cybersecurity – Drive national efforts to create a more secure cyber ecosystem through collaboration with the private sector, academia and government partners to build a diverse cyber workforce, foster development and use of secure technologies, and promote cybersecurity best practices across all organizations.

CISA CSD VMD – Where Data and Trends Provide Visibility  

The Vulnerability Management Division of CISA CSD exists to make sense of the cybersecurity posture of national infrastructure and functions. VMD is known as a trusted, credible and timely partner for disclosing cyber vulnerabilities and risks. The data they collect helps them to uncover trends, and devise strategies to reduce cyber risks.  

The VMD’s main focuses are providing stakeholders with the visibility they need before they need it, reducing vulnerabilities entering the ecosystem, reducing risk within the ecosystem, and establishing the ecosystem’s foundation for strategic and tactical risk reduction. They’re looking at self-service portals, data as a service, data architecture, customer relationship management and cloud security. All in order to: 

  • Reduce stakeholder vulnerabilities  
  • Increase national resilience  
  • Enable data driven decisions 
  • Influence operational behaviors  
  • Responsible disclosure of vulnerabilities  

To aid with these objectives, they are specifically looking for taxonomists to work with analysts and researchers to maintain a global risk catalogue; cartographers to aggregate data about networks/systems and exploitable vulnerabilities; and advisors who are risk reducers that have the ability to collect information, aggregate it, and make it useful/actionable to decision makers across all levels. 

The Right Steps Toward Digitally Securing Our Nation 

Overall, this industry day made it clear that future opportunities within CSD at CISA will require people, teams and systems to produce a greater scope of insight into our nation’s cyber risk posture. Being able to address those risks through the evaluation of data and subsequently providing pertinent information to the right people (at the right time) is what will make the crucial difference for those vying for work within the cybersecurity division, ultimately continuing to propel the U.S. toward a more digitally secure nation.