Michael Assante is currently the SANS lead for Industrial Control System (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security and cofounder and chief security strategist of NexDefense, an Atlanta-based industrial control system (ICS) security company. He has served as vice president and chief security officer of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), where he oversaw industry-wide implementation of cybersecurity standards across the continent. Prior to joining NERC, he held a number of high-level positions at Idaho National Labs and served as vice president and chief security officer for American Electric Power. Mr. Assante's work in ICS security has been widely recognized, and he was selected by his peers as the winner of InfoSecurity magazine’s security leadership award for his efforts as a strategic thinker. The RSA 2005 Conference awarded him its outstanding achievement award in the practice of security within an organization.
Mr. Assante has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and was an initial member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency. Before his career in security, he served in various naval intelligence and information warfare roles, where he developed and gave presentations on the latest technology and security threats to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the director of the National Security Agency, and other leading government officials. In 1997, he was honored as a Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year. He holds a B.A. in political science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.