March Cybersecurity Leadership and Smart City Conference Highlights Smart City Development and Cybersecurity Initiatives; Furthers Engagement with State and Local Governments

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Written by Christina Batcheler

With speakers including Rick Howard, CSO, Palo Alto Networks and Mike Watson, CISO, Commonwealth of Virginia, the Mason Cybersecurity Leadership and Smart City Conference brought together 200 participants and speakers on March 13th in Arlington to discuss smart city innovation and associated cybersecurity challenges and strategies.

The conference, part of Mason’s NSF project to further cybersecurity partnering amongst cities and counties, builds upon a workshop held with Virginia city and county administrators and ICT and cybersecurity leaders in October and which identified Governance, Technology, Shared Staffing and Communications as promising partnering areas.

Mason project PI’s J.P. Auffret and Angelos Stavrou highlighted the challenge for many cities and counties which have limited budgets and IT expertise but often own and operate critical infrastructure including electric, water and transportation. Dave Jordan, CISO, Arlington County and a key partner of the NSF project, noted the importance of conferences such as these saying that the exchange of practices and insights with academia and private sector broadens city and county cybersecurity perspectives and contributes to furthering their cybersecurity strategies.

Conference highlights included:

  • Rick Howard, CSO, Palo Alto Networks – Today’s cybersecurity environment and evolution of cybersecurity industry products from “defense in depth” to platforms.
  • Tomohiko Arai, Science Counselor and Chief of Science section, The Embassy of Japan and Yoshihiro Katagiri, Director, North America Center, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) – Society 5.0 and Japan’s future vision for technology and society.
  • Mike Watson, CISO, Commonwealth of Virginia, Dave Jordan, CISO, Arlington County, Annie Carlson, Director, IT, Town of Leesburg and Isaac Janak, Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Commonwealth of Virginia – Virginia state and local government and cybersecurity.
  • David Metnick, Managing Director, Education, Health & Public Service, Accenture – Smart City Innovation.

The conference featured a full line-up of prestigious experts in cybersecurity and speakers also included: Rick Tracy, Senior Vice President, CSO, Telos, Michael Aisenberg, Principal Cyber Policy Analyst/Counsel, MITRE, Adam Sills, ‎Head of Contract P&C Binding and Professional Liability, CapSpecialty, , Shaun Waterman, Freelance Journalist covering cybersecurity, Raghu Dev, World Wide Identity and Access Management Lead, IBM, Linton Wells II, Executive Advisor, C4I & Cyber Center, David Winks, Managing Director, AcquSight, Kevin Yin, CEO, SitScape and A.J. Nash, Intelligence Services Manager, Symantec.

Next steps for the NSF project are partnering with counties, towns and cities on regional workshops with administrators in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region and in the Leesburg, Loudoun and Purcellville region in May.

Conference partners and sponsors included Palo Alto Networks, Accenture, International Academy of CIO, Washington Innovation Network and Honeycomb IQ.

To view some of the presentations, please go to:

This conference was part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) “City and County Cross Jurisdiction Cybersecurity Collaboration Capacity Building” grant awarded in summer 2016 to the Volgenau School of Engineering’s Center for Assurance Research and Engineering (CARE) and School of Business.

More information about the grant is here.