As agencies begin work to implement the Biden administration’s brand new national cyber strategy, the chief information officer (CIO) of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said he’s most excited that the strategy calls on the Federal government to diversify the cybersecurity workforce.
“The strategy is a pretty big shift from the last one released in 2018. There are some parts I’m really excited about,” CISA’s Bob Costello said at Zscaler’s Public Sector Summit on March 8 in Washington. “We talk about growing the cybersecurity workforce and the complete lack of diversity we have.”
“The hard problems don’t get solved if you don’t talk about them, and it’s a hard problem to talk about that,” Costello said.
“We have an issue in this country that we need to work towards to resolve and ensure that the next people entering the workforce have the right skills and we have a continual pipeline of great people,” he added.
Zscaler’s Public Sector Chief Transformation Officer, Jose Padin, agreed with Costello, saying, “Change has to happen. It was really brave to have all of the guidance that we’ve seen over the last 365 days … to acknowledge that need to change and improve.”
“From a cultural perspective, it’s people that are changing. So how do we work together to make sure that we are looking at this from a holistic approach,” Padin asked.
Costello also said the national cyber strategy talks a lot about securing the nation at the community level, and he emphasized that there is a myriad of resources available to state and local governments that go unused simply because people aren’t aware that they’re there.
“This is a community level issue as well, and the strategy talks a lot about that – how are we going to start securing our communities of the nation,” Costello said.
“Before I started working at CISA, I didn’t know all the services available for state, local, territorial, and Tribal, the Federal civilian-executive branch, as well as for certain critical infrastructure customers,” the CISA official said.
“If you think you don’t have the resources, you may be surprised of the help that is out there to get you to that next level,” he said. “We learn to take care of the next group of people.”
Costello emphasized that fostering a community of change is “about protecting lives. It’s about protecting the American way of life. It’s about protecting our country.”