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By Bruce Sussman
Wed | Jul 10, 2019 | 11:28 AM PDT

SecureWorld Founder Michael O'Gara remembers Michael Assante like it was yesterday.

"He was one of the great ones in our industry. He was a remarkably nice guy and helped early on to build SecureWorld Detroit, which is now the largest cybersecurity conference in the region. That is just one of the lasting impacts he will continue to make even though he is gone."

Assante's wife Christina shared the news of his passing on Facebook, after he lost his battle with cancer.

"Though loss is never easy, he definitely spent the past two months trying to help ease us into our grief in a loving and healthy way. He focused on those he loved in his last week specifically, making sure we knew of his unending love for us," she posted.

Michael Assante: big contributions to IT Security


Michael Assante's final cybersecurity role was Director of Industrials and Infrastructure at SANS Institute. This was an area focused on securing organizations that make, move, and power our world.

He was also the SANS lead for Industrial Control System (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security.

His bio lists some of his other accomplishments:

"Assante served as Vice President and CSO at American Electric Power, engaged in research to include the Idaho National Laboratory vulnerability of electric generators to destruction through remote cyber attack, and served as the first CSO at NERC.

Government, intelligence, and military organizations have also relied on his leadership and counsel for more than 20 years. He has testified before the US Senate and House and was an initial member of the member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency.

Michael co-led the international steering committee that created the most widely respected industrial control systems security skills certification program, the GICSP, which is now held by over 1,300 practitioners in more than 30 countries."

None of these accomplishments surprise SecureWorld Vice President Brad Graver. 

"His passion for security was clearly evident in all that he did. And he had this vision of building a community in cybersecurity. It is why he played a part in a number of our regional cybersecurity conferences over the years. And his impact on the cybersecurity industry will certainly continue."

An impact that will help secure future generations because of the work that he did and the passion he shared.