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Public and private partnerships help fortify critical infrastructure

Building public and private partnerships is imperative to protecting a country's critical infrastructure, according to Steven Gutkin, deputy director at the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Gutkin spoke with SearchCIO at the recent Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium, produced by WTN Media. In this video, he explains the steps that the state of New Jersey has taken to nurture such partnerships, and how cooperation between the private and public sectors has helped bridge the gap between physical security and cybersecurity.

How important are public and private partnerships to help defend the country's critical infrastructure?

The threat has become so much more dynamic since 9/11 happened, we've really morphed into bridging the gap between physical security and cybersecurity.

Steven Gutkin: Those partnerships are key to what we do, not only from the government's perspective, but from the private sector as well. As you probably are aware, the overwhelming majority of critical infrastructure is owned and operated by private sector companies. These companies provide key resources in lifeline sectors: electricity, water, transportation, etc., all of which the government and general society couldn't function without. So, our working in partnership with them -- to make them more resilient and ultimately the government and society more resilient -- is of critical importance.

How do you build such public and private partnerships?

Gutkin: In New Jersey we do it through a couple of different ways. It started shortly after 9/11 in 2002, where we established something called the Infrastructure Advisory Committee, which is a group of leaders, owners, and operators of critical infrastructure throughout the state from all 16 of the DHS-defined sectors. We meet on a quarterly basis and they act as an advisory group to the state.

In the years after 9/11, we really focused predominately on physical security, because that was the threat of the day. But as time has changed, and the threat has become so much more dynamic in the past sixteen years since 9/11 happened, we've really morphed into bridging the gap between physical security and cybersecurity. We're providing a lot of services not only in the physical realm, but also in the cybersecurity realm, especially with something that we've developed called the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell.

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What initiatives has your organization undertaken to build public and private partnerships?