Army Sgt. Kyle Plumley, an intel analyst for Joint Force Headquarters out of Columbus, Ohio, works three laptop computers May 16 as part of Cyber Shield 2018 at Camp Atterbury, Ind. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Menegay/196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

#BeCyberSmart: Join HSToday with Your Submissions for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Greetings to all of you and I must say that it is an honor to be leading Homeland Security Today’s charge to help our community share information and exchange best practices in cybersecurity. It certainly could not have come at a more important time.

As we head into this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, I could not be more pleased to see DHS, and all the other departments and agencies that we are all so familiar with, seamlessly and flawlessly move their workforce to a remote operating environment.

You haven’t heard any stories about the transition, and that’s just the way every CIO likes it. For years, before, during, and after my tenure as CIO of DHS, CIOs across the federal enterprise planned and prepared, tested, and tested more, to ensure continuity of operations. The remote work environment was an important part of this – and when the time came, they were ready.

That is not to say that we did not face challenges. From the technical hiccups to the human resource challenges, to the simple readjustment of our mindset, the nation achieved “telework” overnight.

But the security challenges still exist. Cyber-attacks still exist. And cyber hygiene – cited by many as a primary driver of vulnerability – remains one of our greatest challenges. Let’s face it: the attack surface just expanded considerably into all types of environments that have not been hardened in a manner we have come to expect. While we have always been aware that the cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, the pandemic has exacerbated that.

We have a unique and exciting opportunity to share what we’ve learned and to become stronger, together, through this.

As an HSToday reader, you know we focus on cybersecurity news, information, and expert discussions on all of these topics for the public sector. Throughout my professional career I found these collaborations to be invaluable – and since departing federal service, I now realize what an opportunity I missed because I didn’t leverage these platforms even more.

During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I invite you to contribute your experiences, your ‘ah yes, I got it’ moments, your advice and your counsel to others in our community so that no matter where they sit – federal, state, tribal, local CIOs, CISOs, administrators, programmers, etc. – all can avoid simple mistakes, or better yet plug a vulnerability or recognize, stop, and thwart an attack.

I look forward to reading your submissions for NCSAM this year. Although HSToday focuses much of our editorial attention to cyber during October, I believe you all know what we do throughout the year and invite your continued contributions. At the end of the month we will send out a compilation of all of your contributions from 2020, 2019 AND 2018 so you have a comprehensive list on the latest thinking, and that of years past.

Thank you for considering this and I hope to see your advice and expertise as part of this ongoing mission.

Very respectfully,

Luke McCormack

Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2013-2017

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Luke McCormack is the former Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where he oversaw DHS’ continuing efforts to implement information technology (IT) enhancements and strengthen IT security. He has extensive IT and leadership experience, previously serving at the Department of Justice as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Information Resources Management/Chief Information Officer. From 2005 to 2012, he served as CIO for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and from 1999 to 2005, he served Customs and Border Protection, moving from Director of Systems Engineering, to Director of Architecture and Engineering, to Acting Director of Infrastructure Services Division.

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