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Cybersecurity takes center stage at NIST’s third annual DC CyberWeek event

Innovating cybersecurity for the future while developing collaborative relationships today was the main takeaway for more than 120 attendees of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) – part of NIST – event October 22nd in Rockville, Maryland. The third annual event titled, “Cybersecurity Innovation at NIST…and Beyond,” was part of CyberScoop’s DC CyberWeek activities in recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The NCCoE brought together a dream team panel of cybersecurity leaders and experts from NIST, private industry, and non-profits, who spoke on such topics as 5G, space cyber, IoT, post-quantum cryptography, privacy, small business, AI, and so much more. We were very encouraged to see so many entrepreneurs, students (including an 8th grader!), and cybersecurity professionals come to hear NIST leadership, session moderators and panelists, and fellow attendees discuss how they are making an impact in improving the nation’s cybersecurity.

NIST Information Technology Laboratory Director Charles H. Romine welcomes the attendees to the 2019 CyberScoop DC CyberWeek event at the NCCoE October 22nd, 2019.
Credit: Kathy Green, NIST
NIST Information Technology Laboratory Director Charles H. Romine welcomes the attendees to the 2019 CyberScoop DC CyberWeek event at the NCCoE October 22nd, 2019.
NIST Information Technology Laboratory Director Charles H. Romine, Ph.D., welcomed the audience and told them about how the NCCoE has been instrumental in helping set the standards for cybersecurity innovation for private industry and government for more than 7 years. “Innovation is interwoven throughout NIST and touches on everything we do,” Romine said. “We strive to work with industry and science to advance innovation and improve everyone’s quality of life.”

Real-world examples of how NIST is improving the quality of our digital lives today and in the future were the focus for NIST Computer Scientist Mike Bartock and NIST IT Lab Computer Security Division Chief Matt Scholl, who respectively spoke about current and future NIST projects in 5G and space cyber. For 5G, Bartock spoke about how NIST is researching how to implement practical cybersecurity measures into the nascent 5G systems. Scholl provided the “…And Beyond” segment of the event, as his presentation on space cyber touched on how important cybersecurity innovation will be in the near future, as readily-available low-Earth-orbit satellites increase in commercial use and decrease in price.

That ‘spirit of innovation’ continued for our Cyber Leadership Panel Q/A discussion, led by moderator Patricia Muoio, a general partner with SineWave Ventures and former chief of the National Security Agency’s Trusted System Group. The panelists discussed the work they have done with both NIST and the NCCoE, among other topics.           

Panelists included: 

  • Jerry Breaud, Senior Strategic Alliance Manager, VMWare
  • Janet Jones, Senior Security Program Manager – Customer Security & Trust Engineering at Microsoft
  • Sunjeet Randhawa, Director for Government Affairs and Policy Counsel, Symantec
  • Peter Romness, Cybersecurity Programs Lead, Cisco

Breaud and Romness spoke about why collaboration and partnerships between NIST and private industry help make projects more impactful and successful for the cybersecurity community. 

The NIST DC CyberWeek Cyber Leader Panel featured various cybersecurity experts from private industry and the public sector
Credit: Lorin Smith, NIST
The NIST DC CyberWeek Cyber Leader Panel featured various cybersecurity experts from private industry and the public sector.

“NIST teaches us and we teach them about innovative approaches to cybersecurity,” Breaud said. 

“Industry likes predictability, and if you have (NIST) standards, you have predictability,” Romness added.

Unique to this year’s event was an after-lunch campfire breakout session where cybersecurity experts like Timothy Shea of RSA and Jaya Ramanathan with IBM Cloud Pak, sat down in small groups and answered all sorts of questions ranging from career progression to favorite cybersecurity projects. Great conversation (and MoonPies) were shared across the various sessions!

NIST IT Lab Applied Cybersecurity Division Chief Kevin Stine and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Division Cyber Policy Vice President Matthew Eggers discussed cybersecurity resources available to small businesses during the NIST
Credit: Lorin Smith, NIST
NIST IT Lab Applied Cybersecurity Division Chief Kevin Stine and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Division Cyber Policy Vice President Matthew Eggers discussed cybersecurity resources available to small businesses during the NIST DC CyberWeek event October 22nd, 2019.
The afternoon also brought participants a firsthand comparison of what innovation looks like in the federal government compared to the small business community. NIST’s Applied Cybersecurity Division Director Kevin Stine and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Division Cyber Policy Vice President Matthew Eggers provided fascinating insight into how small businesses can leverage federal government resources to improve their cybersecurity footprint. “NIST has made cybersecurity resources available to amplify awareness so small businesses can better understand the involved risks,” Stine said.

Eggers added that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is coordinating with large companies to assist their small business supply chain partners in allocating more resources into cybersecurity. “It’s important for companies to get a footing in all the different technologies (5G and IoT, for example) that are coming their way,” Eggers said. 

We’d like to extend a huge “thank you” to our presenters, attendees, and all the NIST staff who helped make this event such a huge success. And stay tuned to this blog and our @NISTCyber Twitter account, as next year’s NIST DC CyberWeek event will be here before we know it!

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