Colin Ahern

Colin is an internationally recognized cyber security, resilience, and intelligence expert. As New York State's first Chief Cyber Officer, Colin leads cross-agency efforts to protect New York State from cyber threats, working to ensure the security and cyber resilience of the State's information assets and critical infrastructure.

In his previous role as First Deputy Director of New York City Cyber Command and later as Acting CISO of New York City, Colin led the transformation of a small team into a charter backed city agency with more than 800,000 endpoints under management across more than 100 departments and offices throughout New York City government. Colin also led the creation of the city’s first cloud-based, zero trust environment, enabling New York City Cyber Command to pivot to a remote work posture during the COVID-19 pandemic while still processing billions of events per day to ensure that city services are defended from cyber threats. Before working at the City, Colin worked in cybersecurity in the financial services industry.

Colin began his career in the Army, enlisting in the reserves after 9/11. He was later selected for an ROTC scholarship and served on active duty, including two year-long tours in Afghanistan. He was promoted to multiple leadership roles at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels in intelligence and cyber operations. Colin ended his Army career as a company commander in the Army Cyber Brigade, where he oversaw the creation of a specialized cyberspace operations organization. His military decorations include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Unit Commendation with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 3 campaign stars, and the Knowlton Award.

He has also taught at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs as an Adjunct Associate Professor and served as a guest lecturer at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Colin has given numerous keynote addresses to academic, public, and private sector audiences, and frequently engages with the media. His academic and professional writing has been widely published, including by The Advanced Computing Systems Association and the Association for Computing Machinery. Colin is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and a certified information systems security professional. Colin received his bachelor's degree from Tulane University and his MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Colin’s family has been in New York City for more than four generations. He enjoys surfing, skiing, and hockey, and lives with his wife and two children in Brooklyn.


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