She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Milan, Italy; an M.A. in International Affairs and Security Studies from the Fletcher School at Tufts University; and has completed additional coursework in cybersecurity at the U.S. Naval War College’s Center for Cyber Conflict Studies.
State of the States on Cybersecurity
No state is cyber ready.As states continue to embrace the benefits that information communications technology (ICT) and the Internet bring to their economy and society, they must also consider the negative implications of illegal and illicit cyber activities that are threatening the security and economic wellbeing of their communities and devise comprehensive strategies to address those threats.The federal government has actively worked to develop standards, policies, and regulations to enhance cybersecurity across the nation, increase its situational awareness, fight cyber crime, lower cyber risks, improve resilience, and promote information sharing. Cybersecurity, however, cannot be tackled at the federal level alone and states cannot wait for the federal government to provide all responses and solutions before taking action. They have a responsibility to secure their critical infrastructure as well as the data that has been entrusted to them by their citizens.In recent years, eight U.S. states have made particularly noticeable strides in addressing cybersecurity issues and have positioned themselves as leaders in cyber preparedness by crafting innovative solutions to improve resiliency and promoting cybersecurity workforce development and business opportunities.Ms. Francesca Spidalieri, Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership at the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, will review the efforts of state governments in California, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, and provide an overview of their approaches to protect infrastructure, information, and operations.Her most recent study, “State of the States on Cybersecurity,” highlighted effective mechanisms and creative solutions that those state governments and their leaders have devised to take advantage of existing assets, to better protect critical infrastructure, to promote information sharing, to grow their cybersecurity industry, and to attract qualified talent to their states. These states are exercising their responsibility through both government action by leveraging policies, plans, laws, regulations, and standards, and by providing the right set of incentives and assistance for other stakeholders.The report stressed that maintaining the most recent security products, tools, and plans is just as important as educating users in the proper practices to reduce their cyber risks. The initiatives exemplified throughout this report provide models for other states and jurisdictions to follow and offer a useful set of effective mechanisms and activities at the state-level to put recommended action into practice.