Bay Area Council Blog: Cybersecurity Archive



Risk management, a shortage of technical talent, and the complicated distribution of responsibilities between government and the private sector are all cybersecurity issues that are prevalent in the United States and the United Kingdom. These themes emerged earlier this week at a top secret meeting between Bay Area Council Cybersecurity Committee members and a cybersecurity delegation from the United Kingdom, most of which was made up of government employees and which was organized by the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

In their conversation, the delegates and Bay Area Council members discussed everything from the challenges of assigning value to cybersecurity threats for insurance purposes and the different fears and priorities of companies in different industries, to whose responsibility it is to keep cyber threats at bay in the first place; especially when they are ultimately backed by state actors. For more information, please contact Senior Advisor Matt Gardner.



Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman (who asked that we not run this story – sorry Jim!) on Tuesday (Aug. 25) was named to what has become THE List in Sacramento power, the Capitol Weekly’s Top 100, of “the most powerful movers and shakers in California politics and public policy.” Capitol Weekly is one of California’s most respected sources for political and government news and views. First Lady Anne Gust Brown topped the CW list, which included seven women in the top 10. His ranking at #51 (look out Anne Gust!) is a credit to his hard work building relationships, and not being afraid to have a strong opinion on behalf of our members. Two years ago the Bay Area Council opened an office in Sacramento, hired some top notch staff there, reinvigorated the Bay Area Caucus, and has routinely shuttled our Bay Area-based staff up as well to ensure our presence and engagement was felt in the State Capitol. With Washington, D.C. routinely gridlocked, much of the action for our region and our members is happening in Sacramento.
It’s not just about the staff. The Council’s easy-on-the-eyes Sacramento office provides our member companies a strong platform from which to work directly with Gov. Brown and his administration, legislators and top agency leaders on a wide range of policy and legislative issues. The Bay Area Council’s annual Sacramento Day, when we bring a delegation of business leaders to the capitol, is widely praised for the high-level meetings we secure with legislative leaders and high-level administration officials. If your company is not involved, we think you should be! Our thanks to Capitol Weekly for its work in assembling the Top 100 list and for ongoing journalistic work to enlighten and educate Californians about public policy and state governance. To engage in our Sacramento government relations work, contact Policy Manager Cornelious Burke.

See the Capitol Weekly Top 100>>

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Timing is everything. The Bay Area Council this week (July 28-30) arrived in Washington, D.C., as key developments were unfolding on transportation, water and trade. Council Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners and Government Relations Committee Co-Chair Peter Brightbill of Wells Fargo joined Council CEO Jim Wunderman in leading a delegation of Bay Area business and government leaders to the nation’s capital.

The Council got an advance briefing from Sen. Dianne Feinstein on her $1.3 billion California Emergency Drought Act, which she formally introduced only hours later. Sen. Feinstein also expressed support for the Council’s initiative to relieve congestion on the 101 corridor linking San Francisco, Silicon Valley and San Jose.


Transportation was a major focus of several meetings led by Council Transportation Co-Chairs Rosemary Turner of UPS and John Eddy of Arup. A group that included Caltrain representatives received good news in our efforts to secure critical funding necessary to keep the Caltrain electrification project on track. Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan informed the group that the electrification project, which is among the Council’s policy priorities, has been accepted into FTA’s Core Capacity grants program. That now puts it in a very favorable position to be included in President Obama’s budget and ultimately a final appropriations bill. The Council will be monitoring future progress and continuing its advocacy for this important project.

The controversial federal highway funding bill was a primary subject of talks with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office just ahead of a key House vote to keep the legislation alive. The meeting with Pelosi’s office included discussion of a bold statewide water management plan that the Council currently is developing.

Led by Cybersecurity Committee Co-Chair Batya Forsyth of Hanson Bridgett, delegates met with White House Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel on the growing threat of cybersecurity breaches and strategies for addressing them. The delegation was also treated to an exclusive tour of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., led by Deputy Assistant Secretary and retired Brigadier General Greg Touhill.

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East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell, the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Central Intelligence Agency, briefed delegates on the Iran nuclear deal. There was also discussion on the fast-growing Tri-Valley area, and he thanked the Bay Area Council Economic Institute for its Tri-Valley Rising: Its Vital Role in the Bay Area Economy report.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Holleyman discussed progress on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, which the Bay Area Council strongly supports. He outlined new digital trade provisions to be included in the agreement that will be important in supporting the Bay Area’s tech and innovation economy.

Thank you to our entire delegation and special thanks to Rosemary Turner and UPS for hosting the Council at a wonderful luncheon. Each year, the Council’s advocacy trip to D.C. is critical for advancing policies that will sustain growth and ensure future economic prosperity for the Bay Area. To engage in our federal policy work, please contact Senior Advisor George Broder.



Just hours after Bay Area Council CEO @JimWunderman on Wednesday (July 22) tweeted to Congressional leaders asking about the possibility of achieving a 2015 federal highway funding bill, the Senate voted to begin debate on that very question. Coincidence? Perhaps. But, the Bay Area Council will continue pressing the question next week when Wunderman, Bay Area Council Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners and Government Relations Committee Co-Chair Peter Brightbill of Wells Fargo lead a member delegation to D.C., for three days of high-level meetings on a range of issues important to the Bay Area business community. The federal highway fund, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars for Bay Area transportation, has become a political football in a messy scrum among the House, Senate and White House.

Delegates led by Transportation Committee Co-Chairs Rosemary Turner of UPS and John Eddy of Arup will meet with U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez, who is responsible for day-to-day operations of 10 DOT agencies and their more than 55,000 employees nationwide, and acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan. The federal highway fund, which is set to expire July 31, will be among the hot topics of those meetings and talks with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Tom Carper and top staff of key House representatives.

California’s historic drought will be a main focus of our meeting with Sen. Feinstein, who is seen as the lynchpin to achieving federal water legislation that for more than a year has been hampered by partisan bickering and stakeholder disagreements. We’ll discuss new legislation Feinstein is developing and also meet separately with Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on a bill he has introduced in the House.

Delegates will also sit down with Jason Goldman, White House Chief Digital Officer, and Michael Daniel, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, to discuss the growing threat of cybersecurity breaches and strategies for addressing them. And, the group will meet with U.S. Ambassador and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, for which the Bay Area Council has been a strong advocate, and U.S. trade relations with China and India. To engage in the Council’s federal policy work, contact Senior Advisor George Broder.



The Bay Area Council Executive Committee and Board of Directors on Thursday (July 17) applauded Virgin America CEO David Cush for his two years of strong leadership as Chair of the regional business and economic policy group and welcomed Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of development firm TMG Partners, as his successor. Covarrubias’ selection to the two-year leadership position came during a meeting generously hosted by member company Google at their Mountain View campus.

Cush’s two-year tenure as Chair marked a period of significant growth and accomplishment for the Council. Covarrubias, the 37th Chair in the organization’s 70-year history, has been a stalwart supporter of the Bay Area Council and is actively engaged in driving the Council’s work to create more housing in the region. Covarrubias chairs the Council’s Housing and Sustainable Development Committee, and serves on several of the Council’s key governance groups. His TMG Partners is one of the region’s leading real estate development companies whose landmark projects include some of San Francisco’s most prominent buildings. Covarrubias is highly regarded within the real estate community and in 2008 was named Dealmaker of the Year by the San Francisco Business Times.

The Council was warmly received by Google executive Mark Golan. Golan spoke about Google’s strong alignment with the Council’s continuing work to address the region’s serious housing shortage and crisis-level traffic. At the Executive Committee meeting, the Council’s top leadership discussed pending legislation to expand California’s battle against greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, reviewed a bold strategy for addressing the state’s historic drought and water infrastructure needs, and discussed options currently being considered during a special session of the Legislature for how to fund the state’s massive transportation infrastructure needs. The Council will announce more details about its positions on these various issues in coming weeks.

In a series of lively reports, the Board of Directors heard from policy committee chairs on the great progress the Council is making on its priority issues. Rosemary Turner, Northern California President for United Parcel Service, reported on transportation; Michael Covarrubias on housing; Suffolk Construction West Region President Andy Ball and Montezuma Wetlands Jim Levine on water; AT&T California President Ken McNeely on 21st Century Infrastructure and Signature Development Group CEO Michael Ghielmetti on the Council’s China activities. During the water report, Levine and Ball unveiled a fun, new drought awareness public service announcement featuring San Francisco Giants ace Sergio Romo that will begin airing statewide compliments of Bay Area Council member Comcast, whose Hank Fore was in attendance Thursday.

The Board of Directors was also treated to an update from Executive Committee member and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York and Super Bowl 50 Host Committee CEO Keith Bruce on the plans for the Super Bowl next year. Bruce shared images of the exciting Super Bowl City that will erected at the base of Market Street in San Francisco, described the unprecedented charitable component of the event and talked about the many activities that will surround the eight-day extravaganza. Thanks again to Google for hosting us.



The Bay Area Council this week (June 23) released results of our region-wide 2015 Bay Area Council Poll, the only survey of its kind that provides a comprehensive and incisive look at the attitudes of Bay Area residents on the most topical and critical issues affecting the region. The poll examined attitudes on the economy, top issues, drought, housing and transportation.

View all the results>>

Residents Say Soaring Economy May Be Reaching a Plateau

Bay Area residents think the region’s super-heated economy may be reaching a plateau according to the results, although they are generally bullish about the overall direction the region is heading. 46 percent of residents said the Bay Area is doing at least somewhat better than six months ago while 40 percent say things are about the same and 11 percent think things are worse. But looking ahead, confidence is somewhat weaker than the outlook only a year ago. Today, 39 percent think the Bay Area economy will be performing somewhat better in six months, a 12-point drop from 2014 when it was more than a majority.

Drought Tops Concerns; Residents Say They Are Already Conserving What They Can

California’s historic drought easily topped residents’ list of concerns, followed closely by housing costs and overall cost of living. Only in San Francisco did the drought take second to housing costs as the leading problem. The poll found 48 percent of residents rank the drought among the Bay Area’s most dominant issues, with 89 percent saying that preparing for drought is an important priority for the region.

But, Bay Area residents appear to be tapped out when it comes to restricting their water use, and heavily favor expanding the use of recycled water, turning seawater into drinking water and building new dams and reservoirs. While 38 percent say they could do a bit more to conserve, another 38 percent say they’re already doing everything they can to reduce water usage. Another 15 percent said they don’t make a special effort to conserve and 3 percent pay little attention to their water use.

In the drought’s fourth year, residents are heavily in favor expanding the use of recycled water, turning seawater into drinking water and building new dams and reservoirs. Even the notion of adding recycled water to drinking water supplies got more support than raising rates, with 58 percent of residents in support.

Housing Crisis Worsens and Attitudes Soften on Density, Regulations and Fees

Second to the drought only in San Francisco, as the Bay Area’s housing crisis worsens, poll results find that a growing number of residents support reducing fees and regulations on new development, streamlining environmental reviews and allowing higher population densities in their cities. Almost 67 percent said that trying to find a place to live in the Bay Area has gotten harder over the past year.

Residents also are not interested in building just any housing, the poll finds. A significant 76 percent say the focus should be on building workforce housing for low- and middle-income residents. When asked to show on a map where they think housing is needed most urgently, the overwhelming majority of residents from around the region point to a city where home prices and rents are soaring to stratospheric heights: San Francisco.

Residents say getting around the Bay Area is harder than a year ago, Strongly Support Investing in BART, Second Transbay Tube and Driverless Cars

Driverless cars have yet to hit the road beyond early experimental and testing projects, but that doesn’t mean Bay Area motorists aren’t eager to try them. That is among the findings in the poll, which gauged attitudes on a wide range of transportation-related issues including traffic congestion, support for a BART bond, a second transbay tube and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fees to improve roads.


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2015 Bay Area Council Poll: Residents Say Soaring Economy May Be Plateauing; Drought, Housing and Crime Surface as Top Issues

Bay Area residents think the region’s super-heated economy may be reaching a plateau, according to results of the 2015 Bay Area Council Poll released today (June 23), although they are generally bullish about the overall direction the region is heading. And, there are some stark differences depending on how much residents make and where they live.

California’s historic drought easily topped residents’ list of concerns, followed closely by housing costs and overall cost of living. Only in San Francisco did the drought take second to housing costs as the leading problem, and residents in the East Bay counties of Alameda and Contra Costa identified crime and public safety high on their list of concerns. Detailed results on residents’ attitudes about the drought, housing, transportation and other issues will be released separately in the coming days. The results also examine attitudes based on age, county of residence, employment status and income level.

View the 2015 Bay Area Council Poll top issues, economic outlook>>

On the economic front, 46 percent of residents said the Bay Area is doing at least somewhat better than six months ago while 40 percent say things are about the same and 11 percent think things are worse. But looking ahead, confidence is somewhat weaker than the outlook only a year ago. Today, 39 percent think the Bay Area economy will be performing somewhat better in six months, a 12-point drop from 2014 when it was more than a majority.

“As hot as the Bay Area economy has been, residents may be thinking something has to give,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Intensifying concerns about the drought, housing crisis and growing traffic also may be coloring residents’ economic outlook, although they remain generally upbeat about the overall direction the Bay Area is heading. It’s imperative that to avoid eroding confidence we as a region continue to focus on the problems we can address.”

Lower income residents are decidedly less optimistic about the Bay Area economy. While 58 percent of residents from households making $125,000 or more per year think the economy is doing better today than six months ago, only 43 percent of residents from households making $75,000 or less annually think the economy is doing better. Looking ahead, the poll found that 48 percent of higher income residents think the economy will get better over the next six months while just 38 percent of lower income residents think the economy will continue its upward trajectory.

More broadly, the poll found that 55 percent of residents think the Bay Area overall is heading in the right direction. Millennials (18-33 years) are decidedly more upbeat, with 62 percent saying the region is on the right track and 20 percent saying it’s on the wrong track. Older residents (65 years and older) are less impressed with the direction of things, with only 49 percent saying we’re headed in the right direction and 34 percent saying we’re off track.

Residents are little happier with things close to home, with 59 percent saying their local community is headed in the right direction. They are less enamored of the state overall, with 51 percent agreeing California is headed in the right direction.

Gov. Jerry Brown gets very high marks from Bay Area residents, with 66 percent approving the job he is doing. His biggest fans are among the older set, with 77 percent of residents 65 years and older approving of the job the governor is doing. Among millennials, the governor’s approval rating dips to 56 percent. The normally beleaguered state Legislature gets some credit for decreasing their squabbling, with residents bumping their approval of lawmakers from 36 percent in 2014 to 48 percent in 2015.

Residents are unhappy about taxes. The Bay Area Council Poll found 73 percent of residents think the amount of taxes they pay is somewhat too high (41%) or much too high (32%). Another 22 percent said their taxes are about right. Attitudes towards taxes are fairly consistent across counties, with residents in Contra Costa (78%) and Alameda (76%) feeling most over-burdened.

The poll also explored residents’ use of smartphone technology, with 41 percent saying they rely a great deal on their device to accomplish day-to-day tasks, an increase of eight points from 2014. Another 29 percent have a moderate reliance on their smart phone and only 11 percent of Bay Area residents surveyed don’t have a smart phone. While 60 percent of residents say they currently have a landline telephone, 42 percent say it’s likely they’ll cut the cord in the five years.

The 2015 Bay Area Council Poll, which was conducted by Oakland-based public opinion research firm EMC Research, surveyed more than 1,000 residents online about a range of issues related to economic growth, housing and transportation, drought, education and workforce. The margin of error is 3.1 percent.



With Sacramento awash in tax revenue, Gov. Jerry Brown told a full house of 600 Bay Area business leaders at the 2015 Outlook Conference on Thursday (May 21) that it’s “Katie bar the door” when it comes to resisting new spending. Brown opened the conference with wide ranging remarks on California’s growing economy and the inevitability of a future downturn, his plans to hold the line on new spending, the historic drought, climate change, Bay Bridge bolts and investing in critical infrastructure, among other topics. Following remarks by Signature Development Group President Michael Ghielmetti and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the governor also took a moment to break some news by announcing his endorsement of Lee for reelection in November. See the announcement>>

Read the San Francisco Chronicle story>>

Bay Area Council Executive Committee member and Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson led a lively discussion with Mayor Lee, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo on regional solutions to the Bay Area’s housing supply and affordability crisis, public safety and traffic congestion.

With an introduction by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (the LA Dodgers fan bravely announced the SF Giants’ 4-0 win over his team to complete a three-game sweep), former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm wowed the audience with a very humorous and informative talk on clean energy before sitting down with Executive Committee member and PG&E Chairman, President and CEO Tony Earley for a conversation about what he called the “Grid of Everything.” Earley said the explosion of rooftop solar, new energy efficiency and storage technologies and aggressive carbon reduction targets means California must move quickly to adapt its policy and regulatory frameworks to manage the changes. He pointed to a recent Bay Area Council Economic Institute report – 21st Century Infrastructure: Keeping California Connected, Powered and Competitive – that lays out a vision for promoting investment in modern energy networks.

Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman opened the conference, whose theme was New Frontiers, with a stirring speech about the Bay Area’s new frontiers. See Jim Wunderman’s Outlook Conference speech>>

There was tremendous interest in a new report released by JPMorgan Chase — Strengthening the Bay Area — at the Outlook Conference examining opportunities in the Bay Area for creating more middle skills jobs – those that require a high school degree and technical training. Joni Topper, JPMorgan Chase Senior Market Executive, led a talk with Jay Banfield, Executive Director of Year Up Bay Area, Cecily Joseph, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer for Symantec Corporation, and Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development for the California Community Colleges, on sectors where middle skills jobs are growing and strategies that companies can employ to connect with the workers they need.

Nadine Burke Harris, Founder and CEO of Center for Youth Wellness, gave a riveting talk about how traumatic childhood experiences related to poverty, family dysfunction and other causes can lead to future costly health problems and derail opportunities to participate fully in the workforce and economy.

Chevron Chief Diversity Officer Shariq Yosufzai shared his company’s Catalyst Award-winning initiative – The Chevron Way – to promote engineering and leadership opportunities for women and American Express President Ed Gilligan talked with Beverly Anderson, Head of Consumer Financial Services at Wells Fargo Bank, about how new technologies are transforming the payments industry.

The Bay Area Council extends its sincerest thanks to PG&E for serving as the presenting Visionary Sponsor of the Outlook Conference, and to the many other companies whose support of the event makes possible the council’s continuing policy and advocacy work. We’re also deeply grateful to The Ritz-Carlton and its amazing staff for hosting the conference in its recently renovated and gorgeous Grand Ballroom.

See photos from the event>>

Binary Matrix Security


RSA Week draws the world’s top cybersecurity leaders to the Bay Area each year, and this year was no exception. RSA Week took place this week in San Francisco, bringing together industry, government and NGO stakeholders of all kinds. The Bay Area Council Cybersecurity Committee capitalized on the opportunity by convening a Cyber Summit on Tuesday (April 20) at the Council’s Conference Center that featured Dr. Andy Ozment, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, and Michael Daniel, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, along with officials from the FBI, Secret Service and Department of Justice. The summit came just weeks ahead of the launch of the Bay Area Council’s inaugural Cyber Academy on May 8 and May 15, and just a few days before a visit to the Bay Area by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who talked about U.S. consideration of forms of cyber warfare.

Among the focal points of the Cyber Summit were updates on the long-term goals of the Obama Administration to improve the overall cybersecurity of the country, improve industry-government collaboration in the post-Snowden era, and develop plans for improved response and recovery from breaches, whether of the public or private sector kind. The Cybersecurity Committee established a plan to work with federal agencies to advance private sector cybersecurity standard operating procedures and response plans.

For more information on the Council’s Cybersecurity Initiative, including the upcoming Cyber Academy and more, please visit



The Bay Area Council today (April 3) announced the launch of its new cyber security continuing education platform, the Bay Area Council Cyber Academy. The Cyber Academy, open to both members and non-members, provides valuable education for executives and managers of companies, organizations and agencies of all sizes, particularly for management, legal, financial, risk and operations professionals. Whether you are a CEO with employees or a line manager, you need to know more about cybersecurity, breaches, and the things you can do to help secure yourself and your company. For more information or to register, please visit the Bay Area Council Cyber Academy.

The first series of Cyber Academy courses to be held at the Bay Area Council in San Francisco will occur in May 2015, featuring three initial offerings:

  • Cyber Basics for the Non-Technical Professional (May 8 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:3 p.m.)
  • Legal Issues in Cybersecurity (May 8 from 1-5 p.m.)
  • Risk Management in Cybersecurity (May 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

To deliver the Cyber Academy, the Council has partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. Additional visiting lecturers from leading positions in industry will lead courses as part of the Cyber Academy.

According to the Safenet Breach Level Index Report, 2.2 million records have been stolen each day on average, up 233 percent from a year ago. Costs of data breach are rising dramatically, according to industry observers, as much as 15 percent per year. Additionally, industry losses from theft of intellectual property amount to billions, though difficult to measure due to the unreported nature of some cybercrimes that take the form of industrial espionage. For more information and to register for one or all three courses, please visit the Bay Area Council Cyber Academy.