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Q&A with the Cyber Readiness Institute’s Director Kiersten Todt

The Cyber Readiness Institute has been established to address the pressing issues faced by global enterprises in a world of growing technological advancement and interdependencies, and also growing cyber risk. The Institute will work with enterprises to improve their cyber risk management by supporting small and medium-sized businesses in order to secure global value chains.

 The Cyber Readiness Institute derives its focus, in part, from the work of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. The Commission was a bipartisan, independent effort tasked with developing a cybersecurity roadmap for the incoming Presidential Administration; several of the Commission recommendations are included in President Trump’s Cybersecurity Executive Order, which was released in May 2017. The Cyber Readiness Institute seeks to expand the recommendations of the Commission and develop tools and content to address the challenges of cyber risk management.

The Cyber Readiness Institute will be led by four co-chairs, who are global leaders in this field:  Samuel J. Palmisano, Founder of CGE and retired CEO and Chairman of IBM; Ajay Banga, President and CEO, Mastercard; Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft; and Penny Pritzker, Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Chairman, PSP Capital Partners

This Q&A is with the Cyber Readiness Institute’s Managing Director, Kiersten Todt. Todt served as the Executive Director of the Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Security and offers her insights on the influence of the Commission report and CRI Co-Chairs on the goals of the Cyber Readiness Institute.

Q/Kiersten, you served as executive director of the Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which resulted in a report of recommendations for the new administration. How do the report findings link to the work of the Cyber Readiness Institute?

One of the key themes throughout the report and its recommendations is the importance of cyber risk management and how it can be executed effectively in business and government. The Cyber Readiness Institute will develop cyber risk management content and tools for small and medium-sized businesses.  The Cyber Readiness Institute will also help inform and educate our workforce on ways to mitigate cyber risks to help secure businesses and the digital economy.  Two of the key issues with which the Commission was tasked with addressing were small and medium-sized businesses and workforce.  The Cyber Readiness Institute will address these two issues, under the framework of cyber risk management in a digital economy.

Q/As managing director of the Cyber Readiness Institute, what would you like to see accomplished in the year ahead?

Over the course of the next year, I look forward to building a membership of global, cross-sector industry leaders with a commitment to securing their value chains.  This membership will inform the content and tools the Cyber Readiness Institute will develop, with input from subject-matter experts and industry leaders.  By the end of the inaugural year of the Cyber Readiness Institute, I look forward to the Institute’s tools and content being accessed and used by small and medium-sized businesses in ways that enhance and improve their cybersecurity and, therefore, the security of the value chains of which they are a part.  This value chain security will ultimately lead to a more resilient and secure digital economy. 

Q/How will the co-chairs of the Cyber Readiness Institute - Sam Palmisano: Former Chairman and CEO, IBM Corporation, Ajay Banga: President and CEO, Mastercard, Satya Nadella: CEO, Microsoft, Penny Pritzker: Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce – be involved?

The Cyber Readiness Institute is extremely fortunate to have such an extraordinary group of well-respected and accomplished global industry leaders serve as its co-chairs.  Each of the co-chairs has demonstrated tremendous commitment to advancing cyber risk management as a priority for all enterprises.  I had the privilege of working with the co-chairs and/or their institutions throughout the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and learned from their experiences, perspectives, and priorities.  These co-chairs will develop and guide the strategic agenda for the Institute and ensure its effective and successful implementation.  The Institute will call upon the co-chairs for their strategic advice, real- world experiences, lessons learned, best practices, and challenges to inform the development of content and tools to secure global value chains.