Business leaders to participate in Corporate Cybersecurity Table Top Exercise Oct. 9 at Pell Center

NEWPORT, R.I. – Senior leaders and executives in the private sector will participate in a six-hour decision-based cybersecurity exercise to explore vulnerabilities, policies, mitigation strategies and more when the Pell Center hosts the Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Table Top Exercise on Wednesday, Oct. 9. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

About three dozen business leaders representing the defense industry, financial services, technology, healthcare, energy and telecommunication sectors will work through a scenario containing a series of events designed to address key cybersecurity issues. The exercise will emphasize the importance of protecting cyber infrastructure, information sharing, and no and low-cost solutions.

The cross-industry, discussion-based exercise designed for senior leaders and decision makers is being organized by Salve Regina’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.

While the event is not open to the public, members of the media are invited to attend portions of the discussion, and to contact organizers to develop story lines:

Dr. James Ludes, Pell Center executive director, at (401) 341-2397.

Francesca Spidalieri, Pell Center fellow and author of the studies, “One Leader at a Time: The Failure to Educate Future Leaders for an Age of Persistent Cyber Threat” and “Joint Professional Military Education Institutions in an Age of Cyber Threat,” at (401) 341-2193.

The event agenda is as follows:

8:30 – 9:00           Registration
9:00 – 9:10           Welcoming remarks: Dr. Jim Ludes—Pell Center
9:10 – 9:20           Opening keynote address: Dr. Chris Demchak—US Naval War College
9:20 – 9:30           Guest speaker: Jim Lavoie—Rite Solutions
9:30 – 9:35           Additional remarks: Corporal John Alfred—RI Cyber Disruption Team
9:35 – 9:45           Introduction to the exercise: Larry Thompson—CIAS
9:45 – 10:00         Table introductions and exercise set-up
• CIAS introduction
• Housekeeping (cell phones, timing, restrooms, emergency exits)
• Rules of engagement (non-attribution, not a sale event, don’t fight the scenario)

10:00 – 11:15      Break
10:15 – 11:30      Module One
11:30 – 12:00      Lunch
12:00 – 1:15        Module Two-Analysis and Discussion
1:15 – 1:30          Break
1:30 – 2:30          Module Three—Table and Group Discussion
2:30 – 2:45          Wrap-Up

The initiative is part of an ongoing effort at the Pell Center to focus on the issue of cybersecurity and to help the Rhode Island community become more resilient to cyber incidents.

On Nov. 13, an “After-Action Report Workshop “ will be conducted  to provide critical exercise follow-up. Prior to this workshop, facilitator and participant observations and feedback from the exercise are combined into a draft AAR, summarizing lessons and potential areas of improvement.

This draft report is presented to workshop participants for immediate review and comment. Following this review, attendees will participate in the development of an Improvement Plan Framework. This framework will be the foundation in assisting participating organizations in the prioritizing of their applicable improvement plans and in the cultivation of information sharing and cooperation activities. This future cooperation will make Rhode Island’s corporate community more resilient to cyber incidents.

Other Pell Center cybersecurity events will include briefings on emerging cyber threats and responses, lectures with leading cybersecurity experts, training classes, working group meetings and other boardroom cybersecurity exercises.

Also in November, Melissa Hathaway, strategic advisor to a number of Fortune 500 companies who also helped develop cybersecurity policy in both the Bush and Obama administrations, will present a lecture at Salve Regina outlining why corporations should care about the issue.

“Experience has demonstrated that meeting the cyber challenge requires a panoply of solutions, including improved awareness, staff training, information sharing, and new frameworks for collaboration and education,” said Dr. James Ludes, Pell Center executive director. “The Pell Center’s cybersecurity initiative can play an important role in meeting the challenges we all face today.”

“Cyber threats are real and have the potential to undo all the economic, social, and military advances enabled by the information revolution,” said Francesca Spidalieri, Pell Center fellow. “This is not hyperbole. It’s why the President spoke of cybersecurity in his state of the union address, and it’s why the director of the National Security Agency warns of ‘the greatest transfer of wealth in history.’ Private sector leaders have a critical role to play in responding to this threat because so much critical infrastructure is made up of privately owned networks and systems—but also, quite frankly, because corporations like yours are the primary targets of cyber-attacks and cyber-espionage.