I am excited to put my name forward for a board seat at CIRA. I consider myself a passionate cyber security strategist, and have the relevant skills, knowledge and experiences to enhance the CIRA board. From financial literacy to not-for-profit board best practices as well as cyber security and telecom sector experience, I will bring my unique blend to the tasks at hand. I continue to strive to evolve my expertise, and non-profit-boards is no exception, having sat for the IDC NFP program, dedicated to better understanding the inner workings and concerns for board members.
I will bring the skills learned from being a member on two not-for-profit boards: Serene-RISC: a leading knowledge mobilization network, focused on enabling people to protect themselves against cyber threats and minimize their consequences and; Quantum Safe Canada: providing a bridge between fundamental quantum-safe cryptography research and innovation, practical applications and commercialization.
In addition, I was employed for 15 years in the private sector, starting as a software designer and researcher at Bell Northern Research, specializing in internet connected application design, when this was considered bleeding edge in the late '80's. I transitioned to software design and release of adjunct telecommunications products, focused on voice recognition telecom switch voice message systems, which we think as common place today, even pitching new prototype follow-me call finder applications for major US Telecoms, and finished on the metropolitan fibre network systems and services at the height of the telecom boom and bust.
Within the telecom bust, I transitioned to the Federal Public Service for 15 years, to undertake IT operations functions at CSE, which layered the joys of design with the demands of operating leading edge technology. From there, I moved to the IT Security branch, and was a key member of the Canadian Cyber Strategy Secretariat Task Force, followed by Executive roles as Mission Management at CSE IT Security branch and CSE's diplomatic representative in Australia-New Zealand from 2009-2013. On return, I led the Industry facing Canadian Computer Incident Response Centre at Public Safety Canada, where, we doubled in size and quadrupled our industry partners through innovative value-add information sharing and introducing the "Geek Week" program to harness expertise across all industry sectors.
With these experiences, I joined Payments Canada as their inaugural CISO and Director of Security. This exposed me to the financial services sector, as well as a regulated critical infrastructure entity, and the realities of industry to respond to and adapt to cyber threats.
In 2017, I transitioned to CEO and Cyber Strategist at my own firm: Tillet Consulting. This sole proprietorship of cyber security advice and guidance, allows me to continue my passion assisting clients with my expertise. In addition, I took on board positions at QSC and Serene-RISC, and also volunteered as an intern for Parliamentary Committees of Industry and Defence for Independent Members of Parliament.
In short, I have the expertise, drive and passion to benefit the CIRA Board, and I welcome the opportunity to bring my skills to the challenge.
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
CIRA, at its core, is the internet registry for the .ca domain, and is part of the global management internet addressing. Work to deliver the core mandate spans public policy, industrial and parliament engagement, as well as international collaboration and administration of the world wide web. As CIRA is a not-for-profit, non-governmental body, it enables ongoing balanced management of the .CA domain, away from competitive and political fields.
As the internet registry authority, an international recognized role, CIRA builds Canadians trust in the .CA of the internet. CIRA has been forward leaning in its participation towards global internet standards organizations In addition, CIRA has been driven to enhance Canadians experience through building unique solutions and trainings to enhance the security of the .CA domain and every user of that domain. CIRA's cyber security products have been recognized across Canada, and has enabled CIRA to bridge the Public-Private sector domains, through deep trusted relationships with Security & Intelligence organizations, such as Canada's Cyber Security Centre and Canada's Cyber Crime Centre as well as research and regional telecom infrastructure owners. Its Canadian Shield products are but one example of great products for all Canadians to use to protect their experience as Canada moves ever closer to realizing the Internet of Things. CIRA has also been front and center in building out a Canadian internet backbone, through establishment of regional IXPs. This work is coupled with outreach to Canadian business, governments and policy makers to the reality of how the internet traffic should have multiple paths, and solutions to have uniquely Canadian pathways, so that Canadian data can remain in Canada at rest and in motion. These IXPs also open up the internet service provider regional players opportunities to compete with the large national players.
Canada's public policy on telecommunications and its regulation is enhanced by CIRA's work to promote public policy reviews. This parliamentary session alone saw changes to privacy and the telecommunications act being proposed, and it is imperative for a body, such as the CIRA to enhance Canadian legislatures to the impacts and unintended consequences to proposed changes.
CIRA's other lines of business include developing and managing grant programs in order to drive forward the quality of Canada's internet. These types of program enhance Canada's IT capacity and talent development as well as internet security for all Canadian users.
On the global stage, the current geopolitical climate is challenging. Having CIRA in global fora provides another avenue for western forces to balance the ongoing struggle between east and west: China and United States. In this complex world, it is important for middle powers, such as Canada, be present and have recognized expertise and performance, to enable balanced international public policy continue to be a staple.
CIRA is an important entity in the internet landscape for Canada and the world. That CIRA continues to enhance services and engagement is an betterment for all Canadians.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
I would like to be on CIRA's Board of Directors to be part of the continuing excellence in the evolution of the .CA domain and CIRAs service development. Internet domain registries are an important piece of the global world wide web. I have lived one "golden age" of telecommunications 1984-2002, with optic fiber crisscrossing the world, bringing broadband to most if not all urban centres. I have also lived the experiences of cyber threats and risks through 2002 to today, where the desire of the internet is good was replaced with the fear of lack of privacy and now the fear of random security and operational breaches. The next phase, I believe, is even more interesting, and will enhance Canada's ability to exceed expectations, if done right - the internet of things and broadband to everywhere. The Canadian Government has increased their funding and shortened their timelines to realize this connected Canada, and with the 5G IPv6 world, I know that it is important for the .CA to be well managed through this new age. Canada needs a strong trusted internet domain in order to enable the increases in productivity our economy needs to keep pace with the world, and deliver continued high standards of living.
I bring deep executive leadership from the public sector, which comes with financial, human resources, risk management and stewardship. In addition, I have strong technical skills to have the ability to assess service proposals from their technical roots, for the board. I have the training and experience on non-profit boards of technological entities, which will enhance my participation on the CIRA board. Finally, I have the experience of spanning the for-profit, the not-for-profit and public sectors in management and executive roles. The combination of experiences will enable me to perform at the highest level with my fellow board members, and allows me to better understand perspectives around the table. A further example of this expertise is my co-authored article on the importance of quantum research in Canada (Policy Options, June 2021).
It has been extensively studied that board diversity brings excellence to their organizations. As there are few women in this field, and fewer on boards, I will bring more diversity in my gender as well as my public-private experience. This is fairly unique: to see decisions and opportunities as systems within systems. My volunteer work in parliamentary legislation at the House of Commons committees gives me insight as to how parliament works, and demonstrates my interest in the importance of public policy and legislation with a focus on looking at intended and unintended consequences of decisions.
I know I will be a great member of the board, and given my ability to focus attention to board activities. I will not have the previous challenges of balancing a fulltime C-Suite role on top of this CIRA board. I will be able to give the required focus and attention, along with my skills and experiences, to enhance the CIRA board for my tenure.
What do you think are the top 3 challenges and opportunities facing CIRA in the next 3 to 5 years? What approach would you take to addressing these issues?
CIRA has been focused on the most critical .CA domain challenges and has taken decisions to seize opportunities, such as the launch of the Canadian Shield program. Going forward, the world remains uncertain, however, I see the following challenges and opportunities:
1. Digitization, Introduction of 5G, IPV6 - these technology trends will see the balance of productivity gains through IoT data analytics throughout prosperous economies. The latest Federal budget saw proposals to match new young graduates of IT services with small and medium businesses for the digitization opportunity. CIRA will have the agility to see the trends of .CA safety, as well as seeing the balance of privacy concerns, fragility of protections that will cause a great deal of cyber intrusions and disruptions. There continues to be a tug of war between state public policy of openness and citizen protection. CIRA will be in position to understand the Canadian threat landscape, and advise and adapt to the changes. CIRA will also play an important role in the governance of continued safe and secure .CA
2. Global tug of war: The global governance and the play between democracies and more closed or authoritarian societies, for the management and rules for the internet will accelerate with the introduction of a larger threat landscape predicted with the new technologies to be launched. CIRA plays a key role in international fora to bring a balanced voice to the table. In addition, Canadians have continued to see a reduction of Canadian official presence at international fora. This reduced government presence may well continue and most likely more fervently, given the Canadian public debt and governments struggling to find savings, as a means to maintain popularity. Travel, conferences and deemed "optional" importance to internet governance would not be surprising. CIRA is in position for continued sustained ability to focus and be present on this file, no matter the politics and priorities of the governments of the day. In addition, there will continue to be debate within the telecommunications act, CRTC powers, big social media players, as well as affordable, fast and accessible internet programs. Parliament will be pushing through changes to various acts and programs, which require an active CIRA - engaged at various committee hearings, to ensure the continuation of a safe and secure domain in Canada.
3. Relevance & Value-add - with many programs under way, including additional investment for cyber security research, increase in regulation in the field of cyber security and reporting, CIRA will need to ensure services are core to its mandate, of a safe and well managed domain. The Government of Canada's policy on competitive, available and accessible telecommunications sector, provides an continuing CIRA priority to offer the IXP network, enhancing regional players. Straying outside the CIRA core role will be muddied by many bodies of a very fractured private sector entrepreneurs and research projects within the research & development sector in Canada.