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Aspen Digital

Managing Your Worst Digital Day

Building Resilience into our Cyber-Physical Systems

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June 10, 2024

In cybersecurity, nothing is scarier than our everyday IT systems being used to cause real physical harm. From the systems that power our electrical grid to those involved in our drinking water, Americans face a real threat that these fundamental systems can be turned against us. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report on just this issue, highlighting ways for the country to strengthen its cyber-physical systems. In this session, we delve deeper into these recommendations and talk to leading experts about how the entire nation can be involved in protecting the fundamentals of civilization and life itself.

A headshot of Caitlin Durkovich.
Read about Caitlin Durkovich

Caitlin Durkovich serves as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor for Resilience and Response at the White House National Security Council (NSC). In this role, she leads the development of preparedness policies relating to the prevention, mitigation, response to, and recovery from natural and manmade disasters. Ms. Durkovich is also responsible for the advancement of national policies and programs that enhance the security and resilience of the United States, its critical infrastructure, and democratic processes; and strategies for countering foreign malign influence. 

Ms. Durkovich served as the presidentially appointed Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Obama Administration from 2012 to 2017. 

Prior to joining the NSC, Ms. Durkovich was a Director at Toffler Associates and served as a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Sowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. She has co-authored and authored multiple documents including The Future of DHS (Atlantic Council, August 2020), and the “Critical Infrastructure” chapter in Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the Twenty-First Century (MIT Press, August 2020). 

A headshot of Vishaal Hariprasad
Read about Vishaal Hariprasad

Vishaal Hariprasad is the co-founder and CEO of Resilience, a Silicon Valley-based enterprise cyber risk startup dedicated to creating a new generation of cyber resilient businesses. Before that, he served as a cyber operations officer for the U.S. Air Force, with multiple combat assignments with the National Security Agency and overseas. Following active duty service, Hariprasad co-founded Morta Security (acquired by Palo Alto Networks), launched the Cyber Threat Alliance at Palo Alto Networks Unit 42, and became a founding partner at the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit in Mountain View, California.

Hariprasad is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and served on the Independent Task Force for Confronting Reality in Cyberspace. He is currently a Major in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is the Reserve Director of Operations for the 90th Cyber Operations Squadron in San Antonio, Texas. Hariprasad received the Bronze Star Medal from the 36th Infantry Division and combat spurs from the 3d Armored Cavalry for his service in Iraq, making him one of the few official Air Force Cavalrymen. He holds a BS in Mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a Masters of Information Technology from Virginia Tech, a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air University, and two cybersecurity patents.

Read about Puesh Kumar

Puesh M. Kumar leads the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). The office is focused on strengthening the security and resilience of the U.S. energy sector from cyber, physical, and climate-based risks and disruptions.

Puesh manages over 150 federal employees and numerous contractors who are engaged in National- and State-level policy development, executing technical assistance, conducting research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects, managing the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and leading emergency response efforts in the U.S. energy sector. He represents the Department at National Security Council (NSC) meetings on cybersecurity and resilience, leads executive-level coordination with the private sector including the CEO-led Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) and senior executive-led Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council (ONG SCC), and leads U.S. energy sector security and resilience coordination with Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other federal agencies.

Puesh has over 20 years of experience spanning grid modernization, security, and resilience efforts within the energy sector. He has worked on issues ranging from cybersecurity to wildfire resilience. He has also engaged on topics cloud security, artificial intelligence, grid reliability, electrification, and supply chain security.

Previously, Puesh was the principal manager for cybersecurity engineering and risk management at Southern California Edison, which is the largest electric utility serving the Los Angeles area. There, he led a team that addressed cyber risks to electricity infrastructure, including emerging technologies such as battery storage, renewable energy, and operational technologies. Puesh previously served as director of preparedness and exercises for DOE’s Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration division and as senior advisor for policy and strategy at CESER.

Puesh has also held industry positions at the American Public Power Association as director of engineering and operations and at Memphis Light, Gas, and Water as a power systems electrical engineer. In 2020, Puesh received the United States Secretary of Energy’s Exceptional Service Award.

Phil Venables headshot.
Read about Phil Venables

Phil is the Chief Information Security Officer of Google Cloud where he leads the risk, security, compliance, and privacy teams. Before joining Google, he was a Partner at Goldman Sachs where he held multiple roles over a long career, initially as their first Chief Information Security Officer, a role he held for 17 years.

In subsequent roles, Venables was Chief Operational Risk Officer, an operating partner in their private equity business and a Senior Advisor to the firm’s clients and executive leadership on cybersecurity, technology risk, digital business risk, and operational resilience. In addition to this, he was a Board Director of Goldman Sachs Bank. Before Goldman Sachs, Venables held multiple Chief Information Security Officer roles, and senior engineering roles across a range of finance, energy, and technology companies.

Outside of Google, Venables is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also serves on the boards of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the NYU Stern Business School Volatility and Risk Institute, the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board of NIST and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Katie D'Hondt Brooks's headshot. A person with medium-length wavy hair, wearing a sweater and earrings, smiles at the camera.
Read about Katie Brooks

Katie Brooks joined Aspen Digital in January 2022 and leads projects addressing citizen-centric and global cybersecurity challenges. Prior to joining Aspen Digital, Katie worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she supported federal and commercial clients on cybersecurity implementation and strategy. She previously worked at the Partnership for Public Service, where she designed and led programs to recruit entry-level talent to federal service. Katie is passionate about creating a more diverse talent pipeline into the cybersecurity field and has presented on the topic at events run by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Harvard Women in Public Policy Program.

She holds an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a BA from the University of Michigan, and PMP and CISSP certifications. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring national parks and experimenting with new Detroit-style pizza recipes. She is based in Washington DC.

Yameen Huq's headshot.
Read about Yameen Huq

Yameen Huq joined Aspen Digital in August 2023 and leads initiatives in addressing challenges within US Cybersecurity. Prior to joining Aspen Digital, Yameen worked as the Director of Data & Analytics at N2K Networks, Inc., a workforce development and media company known for the podcasts CyberWire Daily and HackingHumans. Under that role, he led a team that built strategic reports across multiple business functions as well as a workforce assessment service offering that provides training roadmaps to clients based on talent gaps in their workforce.

He also previously worked as a Manager in the Data & Analytics and Cybersecurity practices at Ernst & Young, LLP. where he led strategic cybersecurity assessments and analytics implementations at Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries. During this time, he also worked as a Deputy Data Director for the 2020 Presidential and Senate campaign in Arizona where he developed metrics and reporting to optimize voter outreach.

He holds an MS in Cybersecurity, a BS in Economics, and a BS in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; all from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives in Arlington, VA.

A headshot of Nicole Tisdale

Nicole Tisdale
Senior Advisor to the Cybersecurity Program, Aspen Digital

Read about Nicole Tisdale

For more than a dozen years, Nicole Tisdale has served as a national security expert at The White House – National Security Council and the U.S. Congress’s House Committee on Homeland Security. Recently, she led The White House’s cybersecurity advocacy efforts before Congress. She is an expert on issues of cybersecurity, intelligence, foreign malign influence campaigns, disinformation, and election security. Nicole wrote and published a book, Right To Petition, to help others exercise their First Amendment right to advocate. Originally from Nettleton, MS, Nicole is a barred attorney and graduate of The University of Mississippi (BA, 2006; JD, 2009).