Robert Costello serves as the chief information officer of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, where he is leading efforts to develop and deploy innovative technology solutions while supporting federal agencies on their path to implementing zero trust architectures. A longtime Department of Homeland Security hand with experience at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, Costello watched as CISA transformed from the successor to the National Protection and Programs Directorate into the quarterback for the federal cybersecurity team. In this interview, Costello charts the road ahead for CISA and details how the agency has been working to achieve its mission of improving federal agency and public cybersecurity since he joined in 2021.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
FCW: How has CISA grown since it was first established in 2018?
Costello: It’s been pretty exciting working in other parts of DHS and seeing how NPPD, and then CISA, has matured. In the short time I’ve been here, I think you’re seeing a tremendous increase in our messaging. The “Shields Up” campaign was really wonderful because it spoke to many different people: You didn’t have to be an expert technologist to understand what we were putting out at multiple levels. It spoke to citizens, private corporations, critical infrastructure, and then you could dig down and get more technical or find other recommendations for your day-to-day life.