DHS veteran helps Grayling with cybersecurity offering

WASHINGTON: Grayling has launched a cybersecurity group to help clients prepare for, respond to, and recover from data breaches and manage regulatory requirements.

WASHINGTON: Grayling has launched a cybersecurity group to help clients prepare for, respond to, and recover from data breaches and manage regulatory requirements.

The agency is launching the service as hackings targeting corporations become increasingly common. Cyberattacks have become a threat to international business and global economic stability, and companies need to understand the relationship between corporate reputation and security, says Pete Pedersen, Grayling CEO.

Grayling's Cybersecurity Consulting and Advisory Services has about 20 dedicated staffers who have experience spanning crisis communications, public affairs, digital, information technology, and government relations.

For now, this is a US-only service. However, “there has been pressure for this to be offered elsewhere” as international clients have gotten wind it was in the pipeline, said Pedersen.

Former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Locatis will help to lead the effort via his company, Nexusist, a cybersecurity consulting firm that has become a Grayling affiliate. On the Grayling side, Steve Palmer, SVP, is managing the offering.

In Locatis' experience, most security consulting focuses on technology for network protection, ignoring corporate risk mitigation and management.

“From my perspective having worked on cybercrime from the trenches, I have not seen any company be truly equipped,” he said. “I feel like there is a void out there [for this type of counsel].”

Grayling Cybersecurity Consulting and Advisory Services will help companies across various departments prepare for and recover from the loss of intellectual property, legal breaches, and the hits to reputation that can occur as a result.

The hope is that the offering will encourage the companies' clients to transition from periodic security reviews to continuous 24/7 awareness of risk and give them the ability to make decisions that can help prevent attacks, Locatis said.

Two companies that have had high profile data breach cases in recent years have been Microsoft and Visa, both of which have been clients of Grayling. However, a representative for the firm said she could not confirm if Grayling provided support for those companies during those incidents.

Pedersen declined to comment on which companies have expressed interest in using the service.

Earlier this year, two former congressmen launched a national public affairs and PR firm called Vectis Strategies, which has a privacy and cybersecurity practice led by Dan Caprio, former chief privacy officer and deputy assistant secretary for technology policy at the US Department of Commerce.

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