CISA: What Is It and What Does It Do?


December 9, 2020

We (Integris), or rather, I (the author of this post), am not interested in this blog becoming political in any way. We’re here to educate, inform, and on occasion, entertain. That said, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been in the news a lot lately. So much so that it probably warranted a blog post.

We’re not going to get into the politics behind WHY CISA has been in the news so much. Instead, we’ll be talking about the agency’s history, what they do, and how important it is to our everyday life in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) age.

What is the CISA?

The CISA is a part of the Department of Homeland Security. It was founded in 2018 when the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Its precursor was the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD – also a part of the Department of Homeland Security).

  CISA’s primary purpose is to build up the United State’s ability to understand and manage cybersecurity and physicals risk to critical federal and state infrastructure.

There are many differen divisions, or rather centers, that make up the CISA. I’ll list what thsoe are below. First, I’d like to focus on two of the more important pieces. They are the National Cybersecurity and Communications Center (NCCIC) and the National Risk Management Center (NRMC).

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Center (NCCIC)

The NCCIC’s primary role is to provide 24×7 cyber-situatioal awareness, analysis, incident response and cyber-defence capabilities to the federal government, as well as state and local governments, the private sector and international partners.

The National Risk Management Center (NRMC)

The NRMC’s primary role is to provide a planning, analysis and collaboration center working to identify and address the most significant risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The CISA also oversees within DHS the Federal Protective Service (FPS), the Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (OCIA), the Office of Cybersecurity & Communications (OC&C) and the Office of Infrastructure Protection (OIP).

Why Was CISA Allover the News Recently?

Politics…mostly. I won’t get any more in depth regarding that part. However, CISA did create a website called Rumor Control that’s worth checking out if you’ve got any questions regarding the recent presidential election and how it may or may not have been impacted by various bad actors.

If you’ve got a moment or two to check it out I do recommend it. You can find the page here:

Like I said earlier, we’re not going to get into the politics behind any controversy, but the page does detail quite a bit of the role CISA played leading up to election day, if you’re looking for a more indepth view of some of the things the agency does.

Is an Agency like CISA Important? Do we Need CISA?

Yeah. We do. It’s no secret that cybersecurity, or the lack there of, is a HUGE issue in today’s world. There are millions of cyberattacks every day. Guidence from an organization like CISA is invaluable to the people facing those attacks.

It’s up to the individual, personal biases aside, on whether or not they choose to take that advice.

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Carl Keyser is the Content Manager at Integris.

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