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3 Qualifications Cyber Safety Review Board Members Must Have

3 Qualifications Cyber Safety Review Board Members Must Have

Expertise in security forensics, technology development and aligning cybersecurity with business goals are essential to advising federal policymakers following significant cyber incidents.

In May, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to address the barrage of cyber incidents and increasingly noisy attack surface that has overwhelmed both the public and private sectors in the United States this year. – 

One of President Biden’s recommendations is the creation of a Cyber Safety Review Board, modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Similarly to how the NTSB is convened to make recommendations following major transportation safety incidents, the primary responsibility of the Cyber Safety Review board will be to convene after significant cyber incidents to assess them and make recommendations for improving cybersecurity and incident response practices and policy.

To make this board most effective, its members should be made up of cybersecurity experts with diverse experiences in the field — including security forensics experience, technical expertise and experience aligning cybersecurity with business objectives. Members should be prepared to offer insights into combatting and responding to potential threats, giving the federal government more clarity on the best ways to deter bad actors through this important information sharing and collaboration effort.

Here are three qualifications the Secretary of Homeland Security should seek in prospective board members:

Forensics and research experience: To be most effective, the board needs members who have deep experience in security forensics and research. The board must be able to quickly understand what happened, how attackers entered the system and what they did while inside. To do so, there must be expertise on the board in digital forensics and leading research teams who can explain to the government — in as clear and actionable language as possible — what happened.

Deep technical expertise: Once the board understands what happened, they need to be able to make recommendations on how to stop something similar from happening again. This will require professionals with deep technical expertise and experience, like CTOs, CISOs and other industry leaders, who can analyze the details of the attack and formulate technical solutions for organizations to implement to prevent future similar attacks.

Cybersecurity and business alignment expertise: The board needs to have a firm grasp on the alignment between cybersecurity investment and business goals and objectives. Managing cyber risk means identifying the key risk indicators and calculating an acceptable level of risk, allowing for organizations to make business centered decisions about what a reasonable level of exposure is acceptable. Since the majority of critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, board recommendations following cyber incidents must be informed by this alignment of cybersecurity and business risk management. Therefore, the board needs leaders with proven experience calculating and mitigating cyber risk through a business lens who can recommend policies that will resonate with other C-Suite leaders.

The Secretary of Homeland Security should consider the above experience and expertise as key assets as it establishes the Cyber Safety Review Board; otherwise, it runs the risk of attenuated and ineffective cyber strategies and recommendations. 

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