MISA InfoSec conference focuses on the need for information sharing

The recent release of key recommendations from a group of cybersecurity experts will form the cornerstone of the Ontario government’s security policies and help create a four-year strategic plan, the Chief Information Officer said today. Information Security (CISO) Province, Rhonda Bunn.

First formed in October 2020, the 10-member expert panel has committed to providing the provincial government with a final report within two years that outlines the steps that broader public sector (PS) organizations, which include school boards, municipalities, hospitals and other provincially funded organizations. agencies in Ontario, must take to stay safe.

During his keynote address in Guelph at InfoSec 2022, hosted by the Ontario Division of the Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA), Bunn whose official title is CISO of the province’s cybersecurity division, Government Information Technology Ontario (GovTechON) and the Department of Business and Service Delivery, stressed the need for information sharing.

When it comes to cybersecurity initiatives, she said, “we are all in this together. It’s not just one person or the IT manager responsible for cybersecurity, it really is everyone’s responsibility. And the way to really work together is to share information. Attend conferences like this and make sure we work together, because we really want to contribute to help and work closely with municipalities to improve the way we fight against cyberattacks in general.

In his speech, Bunn said a key ally of municipal IT security personnel is the Ontario Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, which provides advice, guidance, information and services to BPS and municipalities.

According to a fact sheet, the center provides both cybersecurity education and awareness materials such as learning modules, videos, tip sheets and articles, as well as support and advice on various cybersecurity issues.

His work aligns with the findings of the expert panel, which last month suggested the province focus on four key themes:

  • Strengthen governance and operating models
  • Improve education and training
  • Develop communication between organizations, and
  • Adopt cross-industry shared services to better mitigate future cyberattacks.

Kaleed Rasheed, the province’s minister for commercial and public service delivery, said last month that the group’s recommendations “will form the foundation of our cybersecurity policies and help develop shared best practices across sectors.” They will also inform future targeted investments in our cyber defenses, so that we are well equipped to deal with the inevitable cyber attacks.

“The lessons we have learned so far are invaluable, and as we prepare to meet the challenges of the future, we must also continue to innovate in the tools and techniques we employ. This report will allow our government to do just that.

Bunn said that “by sharing the information in the report, we hope it opens up lines of communication so we can all start having conversations.”

Prior to the keynote, MISA Ontario President Jamie Hagg applauded the work of all IT workers in the province, saying that during COVID-19 and since, they have had to “adapt and adjust to on the fly, while still having huge lists of projects to review. after including what we are here to talk about today – information security.

“This is changing at a rapid pace and the sophistication of attacks is getting bigger and bigger. I think you just did a great job taking care of all of this. When I think of an IT professional, a few words come to mind: resilience, dedication, passion, commitment and teamwork. »

He said, “Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of how important your contributions are to your municipality. When you’re having a bad day and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, pause and reflect on the impact your work has had on your community.

“Your efforts contribute to an organization being able to provide services for police, fire, critical infrastructure and many other important community and social programs. It would not be possible for your community to function without its dedicated and dedicated IT professionals, so never underestimate what you do for your community.

Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, who is currently chair of Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), a group of 29 mayors from cities with populations of 100,000, who collectively represent 70 per cent of the province’s population, said cybersecurity is frequently discussed.

“We’ve talked about the issues you’re going to explore together over the next two days at this conference, and I just want to thank you for doing that,” he said.

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