Raimondo creates board to oversee cybersecurity mission

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In an effort to better protect Rhode Island from cyber-attacks, Gov. Gina Raimondo on Thursday signed an executive order establishing the state’s first Homeland Security Advisory Board.

When she first took office, Raimondo created a task force to work specifically on the state’s cybersecurity. Over the past two years, the group met with experts from both the public and private sectors and made recommendations based on what they learned.

Raimondo’s executive order closes the book on the task force and creates a permanent board that will make sure those recommendations are followed and provide strategic guidance to the governor’s administration.

Raimondo said it’s the next step in continuing to ensure Rhode Island’s safety and resiliency.

“We need to be prepared, we need to be safe,” she said Thursday. “We can’t put our head in the sand and deny the challenges that we confront.”

“It seems crystal clear every single day that the threat is greater than the day before,” Raimondo added.

At the end of this year and annually thereafter, the board will issue a report outlining where the state stands and what further actions need to be taken.

Mike Steinmetz, the state’s first cybersecurity officer and homeland security adviser, said protecting our digital image needs to be treated the same way as other common safety practices.

“Who hasn’t clicked on something and gone, ‘oh my goodness, what did I just click on?'” Steinmetz asked.

“What I’m going to do,” he added, “is I’m going to bring my years of experience to make those things more commonplace and more understandable and more executable for the resilience of the state.”

Raimondo also said she hopes the creation of the board will add more jobs in the state’s growing cybersecurity industry.