Cyber Resilient 911 Symposium Blog Post


Author: Brad Riedl, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Emergency Communications Division (ECD) 

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Securing Tomorrow: A Recap of CISA’s Cyber Resilient 911 Symposium (Western Region)

CISA’s Emergency Communications Division (ECD) spearheaded the Cyber Resilient 911 (CR911) Program’s third regional symposium, which included CISA’s western regions 8, 9, and 10. Attendees included state 911 administrators, state and local representatives from 911 centers and IT/cyber communities, Tribal Nation representatives, and Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWICs) from each state and territory. The symposium also brought together an array of internal CISA resources such as Cybersecurity Advisors (CSAs) and Emergency Communication Coordinators (ECCs) who represent a specific state or states within each CISA region. 

This symposium, coinciding with CISA’s Emergency Communications Month, highlights the pivotal role emergency communications play in safeguarding our communities, emphasizing the imperative of establishing resilient systems and fostering collaboration. Building on this collaboration is crucial for enhancing nationwide interoperability and strengthening stakeholder relationships, especially in emergency communication systems like 911. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) continue to partner with CISA to engage stakeholders to determine cybersecurity priorities for the CR911 Program. 

At the symposium, speakers and panelists presented an overview of the current cyber threat landscape and shared resources to help enhance the cybersecurity posture of Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs). Symposium topics included the current state of cyber resilience in the 911 ecosystem, best practices for responding to a cyberattack, including an overview of lessons learned from the Curry County, Oregon cyberattack, and the available cybersecurity resources for each region. CISA facilitators utilized interactive live polling, breakout sessions and group discussions to gather stakeholders’ current needs, concerns, and capability gaps with regard to cybersecurity. Attendees also participated in a tabletop discussion focused on a simulated cyberattack scenario. 

Billy Bob Brown, Jr., CISA’s Executive Assistant Director for Emergency Communications, shared his sentiments following the program’s third symposium, “We’ve been fortunate to organize successful events in both the Northeast and Southeast regions, which I knew would carry over to the West. Working alongside 911 stakeholders in this region, as well as our federal partners at the FCC, NHTSA, and NTIA, and speakers from other CISA divisions and federal agencies, has been a remarkable experience. Each region provides a unique and invaluable perspective for their local communities. By actively listening to their challenges and feedback, we’ve gained crucial insights into building a secure and resilient 911 ecosystem—one that can effectively safeguard our nation’s ECCs against evolving cyber threats.”

CISA continues its efforts to reach 911 stakeholders at its next regional symposium in May 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. This symposium will include CISA’s Central regions 5 and 7. The insights gathered from this symposium will inform refinements to the CR911 Program and guide the development of stakeholder-driven products tailored to the needs of the 911 community. Each symposium brings CISA one step closer to achieving its vision to: Empower the nation’s 911 communities to defend their critical infrastructure against cyber threats through the design and implementation of a secure and resilient 911 ecosystem.